Asda's first 'discounter plus' Essentials store opened its doors to shoppers in Northampton this week. The 8,000 sq ft former Co-op, which cost £85,000 to refit, features 2,400 lines, of which 95% are own label.

Chief financial officer Judith McKenna said brands had only been listed where customers had stated a preference for them over their own label equivalent or where they filled a gap in Asda's own label range. It means that Coke, Heinz and Nescafé have made the cut, while Pepsi, Maxwell House and Ariel have not.

The own label offer is predominanty standard Asda brand but includes 10-15% Smartprice and 5-10% Extra Special.

The store has been designed to hold more stock - around ten days' worth - on shelf than a standard store. Just 20% of the total floor space has been devoted to warehousing and office facilities compared with the usual 35%. It also features a prominent chart comparing the price of products with equivalents in nearby Aldi and Iceland.

McKenna said the second store would open in Pontefract in May, while a further four trial stores are expected to open by the end of the year.