Wal-Mart singled out its UK Asda operation as a top performer as it reported final quarter results for 2000. Lee Scott, president and CEO, said: "Asda continues to be a model acquisition, exceeding its dollar plan for the year and for the quarter despite a weak British pound." Jay Fitzsimmons, treasurer, said: "Asda had a great year that ended strongly with a record Christmas. The UK operations continued to grow share, ending the most recent 12-week period with a food market share of 14.7%." Wal-Mart's management team announced that Asda is to open nine stores this year, including three new supercentres, relocate four and remodel six. Asda added a record 500,000 sq ft of retail space last year, including nine new stores and seven relocations, bringing its total number of stores at the end of the year to 241. The three Asda/Wal-Mart supercentres in the UK were reported to be trading ahead of plan and Asda will introduce some of their features throughout the chain and add speciality departments to 50 stores. Fitzsimmons said Asda had achieved a record price position. "In spite of rollbacks, gross margin remained essentially flat because of the benefits of improved sourcing," he added. "The launch in frozen foods helped Asda to increase its market share in the category by 2.2%." But Paul Smiddy, an analyst at Credit Lyonnais, said: "I'd imagine Asda's like for like growth was in mid to low single digit. The figures are not specified but it is very doubtful it outperformed Tesco in November and December." {{NEWS }}