Asda is to put small food stores at the centre of its growth plan in an effort to rebuild sales as the leadership gap between Tesco widens.
Huw Edwards, the former central merchandising director appointed director of small store formats in January, reiterated the pressures from planning restrictions facing the multiple with regard to its typical large store formats.
He added: “We’ve opened three neighbourhood stores of less than 15,000 square feet in the past three months, not including any George or Asda Living stores.
“This is an exciting role for me to take on as it is shaping the future of the company’s growth.”
He added that Asda had been trialling a number of formats for small stores in recent months. The most recent neighbourhood
store to open was at Pembroke Dock on April 11, on a site that was acquired from the Co-operative Group. Asda’s store formats are 50,000 sq ft on average, ranging from 12,000 sq ft up to 100,000 sq ft.
Last week at the IGD Global Retailing 2005 conference, Andy Bond, speaking for the first time as president of Asda, admitted that the chain was not meeting some of its customers’ needs amid difficult trading conditions.
According to the latest figures from ACNielsen, Asda’s market share has fallen from 17.2% to 16.9% since last year [The Grocer, May 14, p6].