Asda to finalise agreement with Dansk Supermarked A/S following OFT's announcement. First converted Netto store to open in Q1 2011.
In order for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to clear the agreement made between Asda and Netto parent company Dansk Supermarked, Asda must sell 47 Netto stores. The Walmart-owned supermarket chain said it is confident it can meet the obligations set out by the OFT and is already in talks with prospective buyers.
When the deal completes, Asda will set about converting the acquired Netto stores to trade under the Asda name, with the first opening now scheduled for the first quarter of 2011, rather than before Christmas. The change in date was a "pragmatic business decision", said Asda in order to allow it and Netto to "concentrate on trading in the busiest period of the year".
All smaller Asda stores
will be known as 'Asda Supermarket', with a division of 26 smaller-format stores set to grow to more than 170 in 2011.
The Walmart-owned chain plans to double the number of staff employed at outlets converted to Asda, retaining the existing Netto staff and filling additional posts with new recruits and colleagues from other Asda stores.
The product range will also increase significantly at the converted stores - rising from an average 1,800 to around 10,000 and even 12,000 in the larger stores.
Meanwhile, Asda has announced plans to close Netto's depot in Daventry and introduce an additional distribution centre in the North West.
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke commented on the move: "Today's OFT announcemet paves the way for us to bring Asda to thousands of people in England and Wales and create a significant number of jobs in an increasingly tough economy."
The conversion of Netto stores is expected to be completed, as planned, by late summer next year.