Plan includes 18 more Asdas and 10 Living stores
Britain's second-largest supermarket Asda is to create 8,000 jobs and build at least 18 more stores across the UK this year.

The retailer is also carrying out major expansion plans and improvements to 15 of its existing stores and rolling out the non-food format Asda Living to a further 10 sites within the next 12 months.

News of this major expansion comes the day after parent company Wal-Mart unveiled record fourth-quarter sales and earnings, exceeding company expectations.

In addition, the grocer will be opening its first ever Living store in Ireland in Belfast on Friday. The 41,000 sq ft (3,810 sq m) store will be the first Asda non-food format to launch in Northern Ireland. According to the company, the acceleration of the Asda Living programme will play an integral part in Asda's growth this year.

Asda chief financial officer Judith McKenna said: 'This is a major investment that will enable Asda to provide even better service and great value products to more people across the UK that ever before.'

The supermarket chain will also launch its first eco-friendly store format -a timber framed superstore - at Shaw near Oldham. The unique design is built on the site of the Shaw mill, using bricks and timber from the original building, and will be 20 per cent more energy efficient that Asda's other stores.