Asda boss Andy Bond has insisted that c-stores are not a part of Asda's growth plans - but refused to be drawn on its rumoured bid for neighbourhood and high street chain Somerfield.
"I am agnostic on c-stores," said Bond, speaking at a business update on its George clothing business this week in London. "Our priorities are clear. We've got our core business back in shape. The best thing we can do is grow that as quick as we can, and our priorities for growth are online sales and our Living format."
"At some point we may review c-stores but there are a lot of misconceptions. It's not as big a market as people think, it's not as profitable a market as people think and you certainly don't have to be in it to be a successful business."
Bond also revealed he may not appoint a successor to second-in-command COO David Cheesewright, who left Asda to become president and CEO of Wal-Mart Canada in January. "He did a great job at Asda but he got a chance to run the business in Canada so I guess he either had to kill me or go there," he said.
At the update, George managing director Anthony Thompson admitted growth had slowed since 2004 and unveiled plans for two new George sub-brands: Boston Crew and Moda at George as well as a revamped George range.
The company had closed its 11 high street George stores because the chain had lacked the critical mass to succeed, he said.
"Asda Living is providing a better return on the investment and on that basis we wanted to invest in that first," he added.