The head of general merchandise at Gordon Hewlett has left the company to become a commercial manager in the multi-channel retailing department at Woolworths.

Hewlett, who joined Asda three-and-a-half years ago from Tesco, has left just as Asda launches a trial equivalent of Tesco Direct. He is replaced by Emma Meads, who returns to Asda after working in the Republic of Ireland. Meads reports to director of multi-channel trading Tony Prescott, who is leading Asda's charge on Argos and Tesco.

In a bid to emulate Tesco Direct's success, Asda has just launched a "Click and Collect" trial in four stores in Lancashire and Yorkshire allowing shoppers to order items from its toy and electrical range on the internet, by phone or at in-store ordering desks.

It has also distributed 100,000 new catalogues with the full toy and electrical range.

"This is a small trial initially so we can test the infrastructure before rolling it out across the country," said an Asda spokesman.

" is a key part of our growth strategy. We have been slow to harness the opportunity of the internet, but we are fixing that now."

The relaunch of would be staggered rather than implemented in one fell swoop, said the spokesman. In May, COO David Cheesewright told The Grocer he hoped the full store offer would be available on an improved, easy-to-navigate website by October.

By the end of November, Asda's online grocery shopping delivery service would meet its target of being available from all stores, covering 75% of the population, said the spokesman.

Meanwhile, Colin Haggerty has joined Wal-Mart's Global Executive Programme from home furnishing store Ilva to run a new furniture project for Asda Living non food.