Asda has sold 39 of the 47 Netto stores it had to dispose of as part of its £778m acquisition of the retailer in summer last year.
Asda has unloaded stores to Morrisons, Iceland and independent retailer Haldanes. The OFT consultation period on Asda’s acquisition will officially end on February 2, and Asda is expected to complete the conversion of the Netto chain by autumn, subject to final approval.
Asda still has eight stores to sell, and is confident it will find buyers. That will leave the grocer with a chain of 147 smaller supermarkets, adding 1.2 million sq ft of space.
Morrisons is to acquire 16 Netto stores for £28.1m, composing 120,000 sq ft. The handover of stores is expected to take place in March, and conversion to Morrisons will take three months.
Iceland bought three stores and Haldanes acquired 20.
The deal will give Asda an important foothold in the smaller supermarket arena. The stores average 8,000 sq ft, and the grocer said it will still provide a full weekly shop. It will also offer some non-food and a Click & Collect service.
It will also give Asda a chunk of market share. The Walmart-owned grocer had lost share according to the latest Kantar data.
Asda chief financial officer Judith McKenna, who led the deal, said: “The good news for shoppers is that there’ll be no premium to shop in one of our smaller stores. We’ll charge the same low prices you’ll find in any of our stores.”