Asda to invest £700m online and on stores

 
Kasmira Jefford
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BRITAIN’S second largest supermarket chain Asda revealed plans yesterday to inject more than £700m this year into boosting its online business and ramping up its store portfolio, helping to create 2,500 new jobs.

The Walmart-owned group said it plans to become the first supermarket to launch a same-day click-andcollect grocery service as part of its investment drive and will begin trialling the service next month.

The retailer also intends to double the number of sites offering click-and-collect for grocery shopping to almost 200 by the end of 2013.

It has already rolled out the service – where customers can order online and collect from a store – for George clothing and other general merchandise products across all of its 568 stores.

The investment by Asda highlights the increasing importance of multi-channel retailing, with increasing number of consumers using the internet, mobile phone apps and stores to shop.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda have all built a major presence online while Morrisons announced in March it will also start selling food online next year.

The grocer, which has blamed weak sales on the absence of an online business, was forced to confirm that it is in talks with Ocado about using its technology after the news leaked.

Alongside its investment online, Asda said it will also open 10 new stores this year, including five superstores, five new small format supermarkets and two Asda Living stores.

The news comes a week after Tesco boss Philip Clarke said the retailer had written down £804m on its UK property portfolio, after identifying around 100 sites it no longer plans to develop as it focuses on building smaller, convenience stores.

Asda yesterday reported a 4.5 per cent rise in total sales, including petrol, to £22.8bn in 2012 – up from £21.8bn the year before.

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