Asda has submitted planning applications to convert several Netto stores ahead of approval from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the deal.
Applications on stores including Wyke and Canterbury, both in Bradford, have been submitted detailing a change in signage from ‘Netto’ to ‘Asda Supermarket’. The applications seen by Retail Week detail the external rebranding of the stores.
An Asda spokeswoman would not confirm whether the smaller stores would trade under the ‘Asda Supermarket’ or just ‘Asda’ fascia.
The move comes ahead of approval from the OFT, which is expected possibly towards the end of September. It signals that Asda is confident of the deal being waved through although at least 30 disposals are expected.
A spokesman for Asda said it is common practice to submit planning applications ahead of approval as the process can be lengthy, but added that “we don’t want to second guess the OFT’s conclusions”. He said: “We’ll continue to work hard behind the scenes to plan our next steps, but implementation of those plans depends on the OFT’s view of the agreement.”
Asda bought Netto’s UK business in May for £778m. Netto comprises 193 stores of about 8,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft. The deal will mean Asda can leap into the smaller supermarket arena as it currently only has about 10 to 15 smaller supermarkets. It aims to up the number of SKUs from Netto’s 1,800 at present to 10,000 and will also include non-food and a click-and-collect desk.
Asda last week also appointed Charles Redfield, senior vice-president for food and beverage at Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, as its chief merchandising officer. Redfield replaces Darren Blackhurst, who left earlier this year after being passed over for the chief executive role.
Redfield is a Walmart lifer and will be a key part of new chief executive Andy Clarke’s top team. Clarke now only has to find his replacement as chief operating officer.