Asda has come under new ownership from 2021 after former owner Walmart agreed the £6.8bn sale of the business to the co-founders and co-chief executives of EG Group, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, and investment vehicle TDR Capital in October 2020. The acquisition was greenlit by the CMA in June 2021 following an 8-month investigation into potential competition concerns.

The billionaire Issa brothers and TDR Capital have taken a majority ownership stake in Asda, with Walmart retaining an equity investment and a seat on the board as part of an “ongoing commercial relationship”. EG Group will now buy Asda’s petrol forecourt business in a separate £750m deal following the completion of the supermarket acqusition. The sale of 27 petrol stations by EG Group to lessen competition concerns was a condition of the merger. 

Now that the deal has gone through, the Issa brothers plan to plough £1bn into Asda during the first three years of ownership, with a focus on lowering prices and shoring up its supply chain.

The grocer has been overhauling its product range and upping investment in pricing in a bid to claw back sales from the discounters. It is also focusing on remodelling its big stores, driving up customer service standards and is continuing to invest in online to improve the profitability of the business which has been coming under pressure.

After a challenging year in 2019, when like-for-likes dipped 0.8%, Asda has reported solid like-for-like growth during the 2020 financial year. Driven by consumers stocking up during the coronavirus crisis, the retailer posted a 3.5% uplift in like-for-like sales in Q1 2020, followed by 3.8% LFL growth in Q2 as online demand soared. Q3 like-for-likes rose 2.7% as demand for “key Christmas products” was brought forward, while like-for-like growth strengthened to 5.1% in the all-important final quarter as customers traded up to treat themselves over Christmas. 

Innovation rating: 3

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