Asda plans £500m expansion

ASDA has announced it will create 5,000 new jobs in 2012 by opening 25 new stores and three depots across the UK.

Britain’s second largest supermarket chain has earmarked £500m for the investment that will also expand and refurbish 43 of its existing stores.

The 25 new shops will add over 600,000 square feet of net selling space, through superstores, small format supermarkets and Asda Living outlets

The new depots, at Rochdale, Falkirk and South Elmsall in Yorkshire, will add capacity to the firms logistics network so it can meet planned growth targets.

Asda, which has pledged to be 10 per cent cheaper than its rivals amid a supermarket price war, said half the 30,000 staff it took on last year had gone to young people.

The Wal-Mart owned chain, which currently employs more than 180,000 people and runs 528 stores in the UK, also pledged that eligible employees would be given the chance to take City and Guilds apprenticeships.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said the news of more jobs “is most certainly welcome news for a broadly stagnating economy”. Prime Minister David Cameron also welcomed the expansion.

Asda has not yet updated the market on its Christmas trading. Rival Tesco posted disappointing results last week, announcing its first profit warning for 20 years after its price cuts failed to pay off.