Asda has received final clearance for its purchase of Netto UK from the Office of Fair Trading.

The competition watchdog today approved the deal for 147 stores, after requiring Asda to sell another 47 outlets from the Danish discounter’s UK estate.

The converted Netto stores retained by Asda will give the supermarket an average of 8,000 sq ft retail space apiece. Asda said it would offer five times as many products in the former Netto stores following their conversion.

Separately, Asda has announced plans to add a further 550,000 sq ft of retail space to its UK operation this year, via 21 new stores.

The plans comprise seven new Asda superstores, 10 extra supermarkets and four additional Asda Living stores, while five existing outlets will receive extensions.

Combined with the converted Netto stores, the expansion will make 2011 the largest year of growth in the supermarket’s history.

“The combination of acquiring 147 Netto stores together with our organic growth plans means we will be able to save customers more money than ever before,” said chief financial officer Judith McKenna.

“We’ll also create 1,500 jobs as we convert all of the Netto stores into Asda supermarkets.

She added: “Since we announced our intention last May to purchase these stores, it has been a long, drawn out process. I’m confident, based on the plans in place, the integration will be a huge success.”

The first converted stores – in Worksop, Wakefield and Stainforth – will re-open their doors for business in May.

Read more
Morrisons and Haldanes gain from Netto carve-up (13 January 2011)
William Smith heads Netto-to-Asda team (27 November 2010)
Small formats: does Asda know something we don’t? (analysis; 20 November 2010)