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Senior Asda staff seeking exit

enior Asda staff seeking exit
Photo: Asda

Reports have emerged of a mass exodus by Asda senior staff, after headhunters claimed they had been contacted by several executives of the UK retailer, according to The Times. Some Asda executives are said to be leaving as they can no longer participate in the share scheme of Asda’s previous owner Walmart. Asda has restructured its staff bonus opportunities to mitigate the loss of the Walmart share scheme. 

Staff can receive between 100 per cent and 200 per cent of their salary in cash bonuses, depending on their seniority. Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said that he had made the “personal” decision to leave following speculations that the new owners had been looking for his replacement since Christmas. Asda recently recruited Sam Dickson from Waitrose as a new vice-president and Carl Dawson from Marks & Spencer as chief information officer.

 

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Investigation launched into Asda takeover

Investigation launched into Asda takeover

The planned £6.8 billion takeover of Asda by the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital is the subject of a probe by the UK’s competition watchdog (CMA), after the European Commission referred the deal to the UK. The CMA will now look at whether the takeover will lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the UK.

The CMA now has until February 18 to reach a decision on the first stage of its investigation and has set a deadline of December 22 for interested parties to comment.

The deal is not expected to encounter the same competition issues that blocked Sainsbury’s proposed merger with Asda, which was blocked by the CMA last year. However, it is thought the CMA may demand the Issa brothers offload some of their EG sites, having cited reduced competition in fuel retailing among its concerns when it vetoed the Sainsbury’s tie-up.

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Asda unveils sustainability store

Asda unveils sustainability store
Photos: ASDA

UK retailer Asda has opened a new sustainability concept store. The first of what is planned to be a national project features product refill options, loose and unwrapped produce, and a pledge that “customers will not pay more for greener options”. The pilot store in Leeds, was accompanied by a new plastics reduction strategy that aims to remove 3 billion pieces of plastic from Asda’s own-brand products by 2025.

In a statement, Asda said that the initiative is aimed at helping shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease. It estimates that the numerous initiatives being trialled in the Leeds store will save one million pieces of plastic per year. Asda has also announced the launch of “Greener at Asda Price”, a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.

The sustainability store will feature:

  • 15 huge refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable format.

  • 53 fresh produce lines in total sold in loose and unwrapped format including 29 new lines such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, apples, cabbages and baby plum tomatoes. In addition, all Asda plants and flowers are sold either unwrapped or with a paper wrapping.

  • Removal of the outer plastic wrapping on several popular Heinz and Asda Brand canned multipacks including beans and soups.

  • Recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, plastic toys, cosmetic containers and toothpaste tubes.

  • Asda’s first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles and a hanger recycling facility that will be rolled out across all stores.

  • The store will also showcase sustainable fashion lines through George including clothing made from recycled polyester and coat hanger-less denim.

  • A new community zone for pop ups and partnerships with charities; the first is a three-month trial with the Salvation Army of a Drop and Shop outlet for customers to donate their unwanted clothing and bric-a-brac seven days a week.

 
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Asda owners reassure investors following Deloitte’s sudden exit

Asda owners reassure investors following Deloitte’s sudden exit © Evelyn Simak

© Evelyn Simak (geograph.org.uk)

 

Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks to reassure shareholders following its auditor Deloitte’s unexpected resignation. The separation is understood to be partly due to concerns regarding a lack of independent directors, according to Retail Gazette. EG Group currently has more than €8 billion in debt from buying petrol stations across the world including hundreds of sites in Australia and the US. EG Group owns around 6,000 petrol stations and posted nearly €20 billion in revenue last year. Deloitte’s reasons for resignation remain unclear, though governance concerns had been raised, with Deloitte reportedly unsatisfied that EG Group’s internal controls were keeping pace with its growth. EG maintained that Deloitte signed a clean audit for EG Group’s 2019 financial statements, and there have been no disagreements on any auditing or accounting matters.

The petrol station business is separate from the £6.8 billion Asda acquisition completed this month, with the Issa brothers and TDR set to take equal stakes in the group.

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Asda trials removal of plastic fruit and veg bags 

Asda trials removal of plastic fruit and veg bags 

 

UK retailer Asda has announced is to dispense with plastic bags for loose fruit and veg bags at nine of its UK stores. The trial began on 7th September and could save around 141 tons of plastic a year, the equivalent of over 3.5 million bags. To replace plastic bags, Asda is offering ‘Veggio’ bags, which cost 30p each. Similar projects have recently been launched at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

Kevin Patel, director of produce at Asda, said, “This is a really exciting step in our journey as we continue to look at innovative ways we can reduce unnecessary plastic from across the business and meet our target of reducing own-brand plastic by 15% by 2021. We know that our customers and colleagues are really passionate about sustainability and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do their bit for the environment, without having to compromise on quality.”

Asda has also recently launched a 100% recyclable blueberry punnet, which allows customers to recycle the punnets and film together, without the need to remove the lid. Similar trials are scheduled for other fresh lines later in the year.

Photo: Asda

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Asda hits the spot with home delivery food boxes 

Asda hits the spot with home delivery food boxes 

UK retailer Asda has launched a new fruit and vegetable food box that includes next day delivery. Costing GBP20, the food boxes have proved a great hit as consumers seek to minimise visits to supermarkets. The food box weighs approximately 12kg and has 18 different colourful fruits and vegetables, all delivered to your door the next day. It includes salad items, such as cucumber, tomato and baby gem lettuce; cooking veg including mushrooms, spinach and green beans; roast dinner essentials such as potatoes and carrots; plus snack fruits like grapes, apples and blueberries.

Graeme Fletcher, project manager at Asda’s sourcing and procurement arm, said in a release: “We’ve listened to which food box our customers want and have developed the contents to suit their needs – a convenient and cost-effective option full to the brim with the freshest fruit and vegetables. Not only will it save them time, the opportunities for creating delicious healthy meals and tasty snacks are endless.”

Photo: Asda

 

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Asda opens first warehouse store named The Deal Depot

Asda opens first warehouse store named The Deal Depot, Credit: IGD Research
Credit: IGD Research

 

 

UK retail chain Asda has opened its first bulk-buy trial outlet next to its Bristol superstore. Named The Deal Depot, this new format represents a distinct concept from the core Asda operation, with separate branding and differentiated ranging. The warehouse store is features wide open spaces, wooden fixtures and shop-floor tasting stations. The Deal Depot, which covers an area of 20,000 square feet, is open access and requires no paid membership subscription. Thus, it pitches primarily to an end-user customer base, while its good-value bulk offerings also attract business purchasers. Purchases are limited to multiples of six per customer on many lines.

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Sainsbury’s and Asda hit back at claims merger would harm customers

Sainsbury’s records strong sales but foresees challenges ahead

Following criticism last month from the Competition and Markets Authority about the impact on customer choice and prices of Sainsbury’s and Asda merging, Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, and Asda’s chief executive, Roger Burnley have issued a joint statement contesting the authority’s findings and stressing the benefits for customers regarding savings :

“We are trying to bring our businesses together so that we can help millions of customers make significant savings on their shopping and their fuel costs, two of their biggest regular outgoings. We are committing to reducing prices by £1bn per year by the third year which would reduce prices by around 10% on everyday items. We are happy to be held to account for delivering on this commitment and to have our performance independently reviewed and to publish this annually”.

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Shadow cast over merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda

Asda trials removal of plastic fruit and veg bags 

The merger between giant UK supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Asda is in serious doubt following an appraisal by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which said customers could see higher prices and less choice if the two companies combined. The value of Sainsbury’s shares plummeted 15% after the announcement by UK’s competition watchdog, which said the deal could be blocked deal or that it may force the sale of a large number of stores or even one of the brand names. In its provisional report on the proposed merger, the CMA added that it was likely to be difficult for the chains to address the concerns and that the merger could lead to a poorer shopping experience. The CEO of Sainsbury called the findings “outrageous”.

 

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Sainsbury’s to top Tesco with Asda merger

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Sainsbury’s says its proposed merger with fellow UK retailer Asda would see prices drop by about 10% on many products and create “significant opportunities” for suppliers.
Based on their current shares of Britain’s grocery market, a merger between the second and third biggest supermarket groups would give the new business a 31.4% slice, overtaking long-time leader Tesco’s 27.6%.

In an April 30 press release, J Sainsbury plc said there are no plans for store closures as a result of the move and both the Sainsbury’s and Asda brands would be maintained and their distinctive customer propositions sharpened. However, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe later said some stores might be sold to other grocers if required by competition regulators. He hopes the deal will go through by the second half of 2019 and said it would benefit customers, staff, suppliers and shareholders.

The plan would create one of the UK’s leading grocery, general merchandise and clothing retail groups with a network totalling more than 2,800 Sainsbury’s, Asda and Argos stores and 47 million customer transactions a week. In the latest financial year, the revenue of the two companies together totalled about £51 billion.

source: Sainsbury’s (L-R: Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe, Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna, Asda CEO Roger Burnley)

“The retail sector is going through significant and rapid change, as customer shopping habits continue to evolve. This has led to increased competition across grocery, general merchandise and clothing, as customers seek ever greater value, choice and convenience. Bringing Sainsbury’s and Asda together will result in a more competitive and more resilient business that will be better able to invest in price, quality, range and the technology to create more flexible ways for customers to shop,” Sainsbury’s said in the release.

Under the deal – which values Asda at about £7.3 billion – Sainsbury’s said it would give US retail giant and Asda-owner Walmart a 42% stake in the new, combined business and nearly £3 billion in cash. Walmart would not hold more than 29.9% of the total voting rights for the new group.

Analysts predicted the proposal would trigger a major competition inquiry and, if approved, result in some store disposals to ensure competition did not suffer. The plan was variously described in UK media as “the biggest shake-up in the market since Morrison bought Safeway in 2003” and a seismic shift which will transform the UK retail landscape. There were also reports of fears of job losses and that suppliers, particularly small ones, could be squeezed on prices.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said it was a pivotal moment for the British grocery market, one in which the German discounters Lidl and Aldi continue to enjoy strong growth. He also pointed out that Sainsbury’s and Asda supermarkets appeal to different customer bases. Asda achieves nearly two-thirds of its sales outside London and the south east of England in contrast to Sainsbury’s, which registers 59% of its sales in those two areas.  Sainsbury’s also appeals to more affluent shoppers, he said.

sources include:
Sainsbury’s press release
Kantar Worldpanel news