Asda has promoted Andy Clarke to the role of chief operating officer and changed the titles of several other senior executives to bring it in line with parent company Wal-Mart.

Clarke, who was formerly retail director, has had logistics added to his duties, effectively doubling his responsibilities.

Darren Blackhurst, formerly trading director, has become chief merchandising officer, with responsibility for the entire trading floor, and Rick Bendel's title has been changed from marketing director to chief marketing officer.

Executive development director Doug Gurr, who was previously responsible for logisitics, will now focus on developing new areas of the business. "The new titles have created further simplicity, alignment and accountability of functions under each executive," said a spokesman.

Asda has not had a COO since Dave Cheesewright left the business to run Wal-Mart Canada over a year ago. While he was at Asda, Cheesewright's duties included deputising for chief executive Andy Bond, but Bond said Clarke's role would be different. "The COO role has got all kinds of heritage with it," said Bond. "When I became CEO I wanted Cheesewright to be my number two, my deputy."

Bond said the position had been changed to more clearly align the job's duties with the title. "Andy Clarke runs all the operations, so he is chief operating officer," he said.

Last week, Wal-Mart announced 700 redundancies at its head office in Bentonville after scaling back plans for new stores this year.

Bond said there were unlikely to be such job cuts at Asda's head office in Leeds. "It would be dangerous to say no-one will ever lose their jobs, but we have a lean head office, so I hope not," he said.

Asda has committed to opening nine new superstores and extending 15 stores this year, creating 7,000 jobs. Bond said he had "tens of millions of pounds of Wal-Mart money" to spend on even more stores, but prohibitive planning rules were preventing him.