Asda retail director Andy Clarke has been promoted to chief operating officer as the grocer restructures its senior management team.

Asda is today expected to reveal like-for-like sales growth of more than 7 per cent excluding fuel in its fourth quarter of 2008.

The UK’s second-largest grocer has also changed the job titles of group trading director Darren Blackhurst, who is now chief merchandising officer, and marketing director Rick Bendel, who becomes chief marketing officer. The move brings the structure more in line with parent Wal-Mart’s management, according to The Independent.

The reshuffle will add to speculation about who the candidates are to succeed chief executive Andy Bond, who has said he will not stay in his job beyond 2012.

Bond has been tipped as a potential successor for the top job at Marks & Spencer after Sir Stuart Rose retires, or for a wider international role within Wal-Mart.