Asda is copying Wal-Mart’s move into deprived areas of the US with a plan to open new stores in run-down areas of the UK.
The first to open will be a 34,000 sq ft store in Liverpool next week. The initiative will allow Asda to increase its store numbers nationally by offering regeneration to areas of high unemployment. A spokeswoman said similar store openings would follow.
The store on Liverpool’s Breck Road is based on a model in South Central, Los Angeles, where Wal-Mart opened a new outlet in an old department store last year and was able to kickstart regeneration in the area. Breck Road is one of Europe’s top 10 poorest postcodes, claimed Asda, with unemployment of 12%.
More than 3,000 people applied for jobs at the store. Of the 270 positions, 212 have gone to the unemployed, most of them living nearby, the spokeswoman added. The store is housed in a former derelict Bingo hall. The interior has undergone a total refurbishment.