OFT allows Asda to open 147 ex-Netto stores

OFT allows Asda to open 147 ex-Netto stores
A computer-generated image of how an Asda converted Netto store may look

By Ben Sillitoe - 12:41PM - Wed 9th March 2011

Asda is set to open 168 stores in 2011 after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) opted not to refer its Netto acquisition to the Competition Commission.

A total of 147 former Netto stores will re-open under the Asda branding, helping the UK’s second biggest supermarket to the largest single year of growth in its history.

Over the course of the year Asda will add 1.8 million sq ft of retail food space in the UK through these conversions, and a further 550 sq ft through seven Asda superstores, four Asda Livings, ten Asda supermarkets and five extensions to existing stores.

Asda also announced today that it expects to open five of the recently acquired six Focus DIY stores sometime in 2011.

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.”

OFT approval for Asda to convert the Netto stores has been a long time coming, with the acquisition of the Danish supermarket’s UK arm announced last May.

Due to competition laws the grocer was forced to sell 47 of the 195 stores it purchased, allowing companies such as Morrisons and the new convenience store UGO to add to their property portfolios.

“I want to thank my colleagues sincerely both at Netto and Asda for their patience and dedication throughout,” McKenna added.

“Since we announced our intention last May to purchase these stores, it has been a long, drawn out process. I’m confident, based on the plans in place, the integration will be a huge success.”

Some £100 million of capital has been invested in converting the stores, with Asda’s first ex-Netto outlets set to open in Worksop, Wakefield and Stainforth in May.

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