If you’re out in Leeds tonight, keep an eye out for a group of men in chinos and polo shirts.

If you’re out in Leeds tonight, keep an eye out for a group of men in chinos and polo shirts. You probably won’t find them in Yates’s Wine Lodge though.

But with the chaos that’s hit the UK’s airports today, the bevy of US analysts who travelled to Yorkshire for the “Walmart Stores Inc International Field Trip to Asda” will be spending a bit longer there than they’d expected. I’ve been dipping in and out of the webcast, and Andy Bond has helpfully advised them to spend the night in their hotel rooms watching the party leaders’ debate.

It’s been a long afternoon but some of the key messages:

The store growth programme is particularly interesting. I haven’t done the maths but even with the 150 Living stores and the planned growth online I don’t imagine Asda can get to number 1 in non-food without an acquisition.

I tried asking Bond about it earlier this week and unsurprisingly he wouldn’t give anything away, and he wasn’t budging with the analysts either, but as someone has pointed out on our website, at first glance the densities wouldn’t appear to add up otherwise.

We also shouldn’t ignore what Tesco and Argos might have to say about it. The pretty slow growth in store numbers for both Asda and Tesco’s non-food only stores since the formats were launched suggests it has taken a while to get the concepts right - Tesco certainly seems to lack the confidence in Homeplus that Asda has in Living. Non-food works in supermarkets because the customer is buying food, but I’m not sure the non-food only concepts are destinations in their own right.

Asda is a fine business within a world leading corporation and is never to be underestimated. But the cynic might say that some of the plans feel a bit like they were scribbled down on the back of a fag packet in response to the challenges it is currently facing.

For example, if it genuinely wanted to build a presence in smaller supermarkets - a strategy it claimed was borne out of 2006’s Essentials format - why did it let Morrisons and Waitrose grab all the stores which came out of the Somerfield takeover, a once in a decade opportunity to grab some potentially very good sites?

With Bond stepping down as chief executive, Asda is at a crossroads. and despite today’s pronouncements, the sum of the parts didn’t - at an admittedly distant glance - quite add up to the totality of the ambitions, which lends weight to the theory that the idea of an acquisition is gaining traction again.