Move to take on Sainsbury
Wal-Mart-owned Asda is searching for sites for up to 300 home stores in the UK, after rocketing sales in its non-food division. Asda operates 12 Asda Living stores and aims to have 20 within the next year.

The initiative is part of a drive by chief executive Andy Bond to beat Sainsbury's in the battle for sales. Bond is understood to be confident he can beat the sales growth target set by Sainsbury's boss Justin King. Last week, King pledged to embark on a non-food sales offensive as part of ambitious plans to increase sales by£3.5 billion over the next three years. Sales from non-food lines will make up about a third of the total.

Bond said: 'We have avenues of growth such as Asda Living which we will expand very rapidly now. There are probably 300 locations where you could have an Asda Living store.'

Asda last week reported first-quarter sales growth 'in the low double digits'. Like-for-like growth was in mid-single digits. It is understood that sales at Asda Living rose 10 per cent in quarter one, with a 7 per cent increase in like-for-likes.

Asda opened its first Asda Living store in Northern Ireland in February. A typical Living store dedicates about 50 per cent of its space to clothing, 25 per cent to homewares and 25 per cent to electricals, toys and health and beauty products.

The retailer also intends to open more than 30 supermarkets over the next three years.