Asda set for largest year of growth

Asda will open 168 new stores in 2011 after being the green light by the Office of Fair Trading for its £778m takeover of discount grocer Netto .
The acquisition of 147 Netto stores, which will be converted to the Asda brand between May and the end of this year, will be complemented by a further 21 store openings, making 2011 the biggest single year of growth in Asda’s history.
The Netto conversions will add 1.8 million sq ft of retail food space in the UK, while an extra 550,000 sq ft will come through seven new Asda superstores, four Asda Livings, ten Asda supermarkets and extensions to five existing stores.
The first converted Netto stores will open in the towns of Worksop, Wakefield and Stainforth in May.
Judith McKenna, Chief Financial Officer at Asda, said: “The combination of acquiring 147 Netto stores together with our organic growth plans means we will be able to save customers more money than ever before.”
“We’ll also create 1,500 jobs as we convert all of the Netto stores into Asda supermarkets .”
Asda also confirmed that it expects to convert and open five of the six recently acquired Focus DIY outlets this year.