Asda increases target for smaller supermarkets

Asda has revealed plans to have 250 smaller-format stores up and running by 2015.
Speaking to journalists at an Asda supermarket in South Harrow, chief executive Andy Clarke said the retailer originally set a target of 100 smaller supermarkets in April 2010 prior to its £780m takeover of 147 Netto grocery stores .
But he revealed that the 61 former Netto grocery stores that have so far been converted to the Asda brand are “performing ahead of budget”, adding that confidence is so high in the model that the company is “now looking north of 250” small branches.
“There is definitely a gap in the market,” said Mr Clarke. “People are shopping for a full weekly shop in these stores. This is a working model that we are very confident we can grow up to 250 stores.”
Asda has converted just under half of the Netto estate and plans to open its 100th smaller-format store next week, rising to 180 by the end of the year.
The UK’s second-largest grocer said the stores, which are called ‘supermarkets’ as opposed to Asda’s larger ‘superstores’, do not fall into the convenience sector as they are all between 5,000 sq ft and 25,000 sq ft. Each branch stocks up to 10,000 product lines, including many non-food items.
Mr Clarke also revealed that Asda would be interested in acquiring “parcels of stores” from the Iceland portfolio if they became available, but dismissed speculation linking it with a move for the whole chain.