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George at Asda today announced it had exchanged contracts with the owners of the Türkmen Group to acquire the sourcing division of its long-term supply partner GAAT, for an undisclosed sum.

GAAT is based in Istanbul, Turkey, and has played a key role for more than a decade in building George at Asda’s position as one of Britain’s favourite fashion brands.

George’s largest supplier, GAAT works with over 80 manufacturers to manage garment production on behalf of the business in key locations such as Turkey, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

At a time when customers are more focussed on value than ever, this acquisition will enable George to continue to develop its world class supply operation.

The acquisition reflects similar moves Asda has already made elsewhere in its business to find smarter ways to serve customers with even better quality at a lower cost. In 2009, it acquired International Produce (IPL), which now sources fruit and grocery items for the UK business as well as other countries where Walmart trades.

Andrew Moore, Executive Managing Director of George at Asda said:
“This is a natural and exciting next step for the business and will help George become even more responsive in delivering style, quality and value as we expand here in the UK and elsewhere around the world.

“We have developed an excellent relationship with GAAT over the last decade. Atila Türkmen and his team have built a formidable business that has played an integral role in the growth and success of George. We look forward to working with Atila and his team on the full integration of his business and people into the George organisation.

“By bringing the GAAT team into the George, Asda and wider Walmart family, it enables us to underpin our quality, value and style credentials, extending our sourcing capabilities to satisfy supply demands from Walmart stores across
the world, as we strive to become even more responsive to our customers”.

Atila Türkmen, chairman of the Türkmen group said:
“We’re all very excited about the prospects of the new stage in our relationship with George at Asda. Our dedicated and passionate team has always been proud of being part of the success story of George. I’m confident that working as one team with George, Asda and Walmart colleagues, we are going to take George brand to new heights both in the UK and internationally”.

George at Asda expects to complete the acquisition in the course of the coming quarter.

Posted in Press Centre on 06 March 2012
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First dedicated NI supermarket own label brand

Asda is delivering on its commitment to grow its £115million annual investment in the local agri-food sector with the launch of “Chosen by You – Northern Ireland” (CBY NI) – a dedicated range of food staples which will be produced by NI-based food companies after being tested and approved by local shoppers.

Showcasing Northern Irish provenance, the first CBY NI products to feature in the prominently branded range is a selection of 13 iconic bakery lines from Irwin’s of Portadown.

Worth over £1m in annual sales, the contract reflects the quality and high standard set by Irwin’s which has been a key supplier to Asda since 2003. The full range includes iconic breads such as soda farls, potato bread, batch loaf, barmbrack and sliced wheaten as well as the ever popular pan loaves and pancakes.

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Posted in Press Centre on 14 March 2012
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  • Towns without an Asda forecourt pay up to 5 pence per litre more to fill up
  • Supermarket set to expose huge fuel price discrepancies between neighbouring towns
  • More than half of Asda Mums (55 per cent) call on George Osborne to cut fuel duty at next week’s budget to lower cost of filling up
  • Combined cost of duty and VAT now equates to more than 80p of retail price of both unleaded and diesel.

Asda today (15th March 2012) launched a new petrol price comparison site, powered by independent price checker, to enable drivers across the UK to find the lowest priced fuel before they fill up.

The supermarket aims to save Britain’s 38m drivers millions of pounds at the pumps each year by publishing the highest, lowest and average prices in every one of the 195 towns in which it operates a filling station.

It will also publish the price it charges for both unleaded and diesel to allow drivers to check and compare prices within a three mile radius of their local Asda forecourt.

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Posted in Press Centre on 15 March 2012
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Asda today, 19 March, announced the appointment of Stephen Smith as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Rick Bendel who has accepted the challenge of a new worldwide marketing role for Walmart.

Steve, 41, joined Walmart in July 2011 and is currently chief marketing officer in China. Prior to his current role, Steve spent ten years working in marketing and merchandising roles in grocery retail with Delhaize Group in North America and Belgium. He has also had marketing and advertising roles at AT&T, outdoor-sports media agency Resort Sports Network and J. Walter Thompson.

Steve will join Asda’s executive committee in May.

Asda President and CEO Andy Clarke said:

“I was delighted that Steve joined Walmart last year and will now bring his retail marketing pedigree to the UK. I’ve been an admirer of Steve’s work at overseas Delhaize retail brands such as Sweetbay, Hannaford and Delhaize Le Lion, for many years and I’m certain he’ll be a valuable addition to the Asda executive team”.

Steve’s predecessor, Rick Bendel will be taking on a broader project-based role for Walmart – a natural next step following three years as International CMO for Walmart, helping build Walmart’s global marketing efforts alongside his leadership of the Asda marketing role.

Andy Clarke, in a note to colleagues wished Rick well:

“Because this is a time of strength for Asda, it now seems the perfect time for Rick to do more to help shape Walmart’s worldwide marketing efforts and embark on the next exciting phase of his career.

“Few people in the history of our business have loved and understood Asda as well as Rick. His empathy for customers is equalled only by his advocacy for colleagues, and his ability to bring that alive through story-telling will be legendary for generations to come.”

Asda will use some of the time that Rick isn’t setting aside for international projects, to ensure a seamless handover to Steve as he transfers from China.

Posted in Press Centre on 19 March 2012
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  • 54% of Asda Mums forced to drive their cars less as a result of the spiralling cost of fuel
  • Typical Asda shopper has just £25 a week to fill up their car, yet cost of average tank has topped £70
  • Combined cost of duty and VAT already equates to more than 80p of retail price of both unleaded and diesel

Asda Mums today (Tuesday 20th March) called on the Government to stop taxing the school run by reducing the cost of fuel duty. The call follows news that UK drivers are now paying the highest fuel taxes in Europe. Over half of those polled (54%) admit they have had to cut back on driving due to the spiralling cost of filling up.

Asda Mums surveyed said they wanted the Chancellor George Osborne to cut, not just freeze, fuel duty in order to lower the cost of driving. The combined cost of duty and VAT already equates to more than 80p of the retail price of a litre of both unleaded and diesel.

The nationwide survey revealed that Asda Mums only have an average of £25 to spend on fuel each week and with costs increasing they’re cutting back on essential spending in other areas just to make ends meet. The average cost to fill up a tank is now more than £70.

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Posted in Press Centre on 20 March 2012
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UK families £10 a week worse off in February 2012 than a year earlier

  • UK families were £10 a week worse off in February 2012 compared to the same month a year earlier, a step back from improvements seen in previous months
  • Average UK household had £144 a week of discretionary income in February, 6.3 per cent lower than a year earlier
  • Rising cost of basics continues to outrun earnings growth

The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that family spending power fell by £10 a week in February 2012 – reversing the improving trend seen in recent months. This left the average UK family with £144 of weekly disposable income – 6.3 per cent down from the same time last year.

Income growth remained weak at just 1.7 per cent over the year to February and when this is added to high inflation on the cost of basics, family spending power is being squeezed in both directions. The official measure of the rising cost of living slowed notably in January, as the consumer price index (CPI) rose over the year by 3.6 per cent. This is the second consecutive sharp slowdown, and the largest two-month fall in the rate in three years.

Balancing the two conflicting elements, family income growth is still very fragile, with the improving cost of basics overshadowed by the high number of workers becoming unemployed, and those that are in work seeing small year on year salary increases, well below inflation.

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Posted in Press Centre on 23 March 2012