Press Centre

ASDA has announced today it is giving every one of its 150,000 colleagues, working in stores and depots across the UK, the chance to take up to two weeks’ unpaid leave during the World Cup this summer.

Called ‘German Jolly’ World Cup Leave, colleagues can take this ‘extra time’ whether they’re planning a trip to Germany to catch a few live games or simply want to enjoy the matches from the comfort of their own home or the local pub.

Any ASDA colleague can ask for either a week or two weeks’ unpaid leave to be taken any time between Friday 9th June, when the World Cup kicks off and Sunday 9th July, when the final takes place in Berlin.

This is a first for the supermarket and is just one of a range of flexible working practices that will help ensure footy-mad colleagues don’t miss out on key World Cup matches. Stores will also be running shift swapping schemes, allowing extended breaks and fielding requests for odd days off so colleagues are able to watch certain matches. Televisions for sale on the shop floor will also be tuned in to the World Cup.

ASDA’s flexible approach has meant that during previous tournaments, such as Euro 2004 and the last World Cup in 2002, the store saw absolutely no increase in absenteeism amongst its colleagues.

David Smith, ASDA’s people director, said: “With World Cup fever just around the corner, we wanted to give our colleagues the chance to go on a ‘German Jolly’ and enjoy what we all hope will be a tournament to remember. It’s just another of the ways we’re giving colleagues flexibility and we hope it’s a winning idea.”

ASDA is famous for its flexible working practices that allow colleagues to balance home and work commitments. Leave packages available to Asda people include 'IVF Leave' for those having fertility treatment, 'Benidorm Leave' for older workers seeing time off for winter sun and 'school starter' leave for parents wishing to accompany their child on his/her first day in class.

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Further information:
Jennifer England, 0113 241 9335
Out of hours, 0113 243 5435

Posted in Press Centre on 24 April 2006
Press Centre

ASDA tomorrow (Monday 24 April 2006) will unveil a ground-breaking initiative to pilot a loyalty scheme from its new store in Huntly Aberdeenshire, for the benefit of small shops in the centre of the town.

ASDA's small 23,000 sq ft store in Huntly will open on May 15th and is expected to draw new shoppers to the town who've never thought of visiting Huntly before.

The company, proud of its commitment to local communities, has chosen Huntly to trial the new scheme - COLLECT & SAV£ - to ensure local independent traders fully benefit from the new shoppers its store will attract.

Last Thursday, ASDA unveiled its plans at a meeting of business leaders in the town. This week it will finalise details of the scheme following their feedback and begin inviting local retailers to join.

In essence it will work as follows:

  • COLLECT & SAV£ stickers will be displayed in participating local retailers’ windows
  • Local shoppers pick up their COLLECT & SAV£ wallet from participating retailers or from ASDA Huntly
  • When shoppers make a purchase from a participating retailer or ASDA Huntly their receipt will be stamped and returned for safe keeping in their COLLECT & SAV£ wallet
  • When shoppers spend £25 in a local retailer and £25 in ASDA within a four week period, they simply present their wallet, with the stamped receipts to the combined value, to a colleague at the ASDA Services Desk
  • The shopper will then be presented with a FREE £5 GEORGE voucher and the next month’s COLLECT & SAV£ wallet

The scheme builds on a speech made by Wal-Mart President & CEO Lee Scott in Chicago earlier this month. In the speech he promised that Wal-Mart would do more to support small businesses around its US stores with a renewed commitment to be a community partner. (http://www.walmartfacts.com/newsdesk/article.aspx?id=1758).

“We take the contribution we can make to the community very seriously, through fund-raising, charitable giving and practical support, but we know in places like Huntly we'll be rightly judged by our actions not our words," said ASDA's head of community involvement Richard Woodhall.

“That's why I'm proud that we've chosen Huntly to trial a new scheme that shows we want to work with, not against, existing retailers and share the benefits of the new shoppers we'll attract to the town."

The scheme has been well received by local business leaders in Huntly. "There's been nervousness in our small town ever since it was clear we'd have two supermarkets open within weeks of each other," said Aberdeenshire Town Partnership Coordinator Donald Boyd. "Our job is to keep the town centre vital and active and this scheme fits very well with that. We support ASDA's aspirations for the collector scheme and will work with them to ensure it's a success.”

Asda also plans a number of other community initiatives to complement the scheme such as showcasing local produce, working in conjunction with the Huntly Town Partnership to offer practical support to the town’s retailers and supporting local organisations and charities.

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Further Information:
Sian Horner, 0113 241 7829
Out of hours, 0113 243 5435

Posted in Press Centre on 24 April 2006
Press Centre

With words like bothered, mint and minger becoming part of British culture ASDA today (27 April 2006) announced it would be selling its own variety of old favourites ‘Lovehearts’ albeit with a more contemporary slant.

Gone are the ‘sweet nothings’ that normally appear, being replaced with expressions you would expect to hear in every playground across the UK including:

Minger, chav, proper, bothered, in it, you what, whatever, mint, respect and as if.

The new, culturally correct, sweets will be called Whatevers, sell for just 24p and will be available nationwide in ASDA’s 302 stores from today (27 April 2006).

“We thought it was time to up date this old favourite. With sayings from characters in shows such as Little Britain and the Catherine Tate Show providing us with more and more contemporary slang we thought we needed some sweets to reflect this. We think we deserve some ‘proper’, ‘respect’ as a result, these sweets are ‘mint’” said, James Davies, ASDA’s sweet buyer.

ASDA will be updating the sweets on a regular basis so any customer with suggestions to modern day expressions that are missing should contact their local store or ASDA’s customer services department on tel: 0500 100 055.

 The word chav made it into the Oxford English Dictionary on 10 August 2005.

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For further information: ASDA Press Office, tel: 0113 241 7829

Posted in Press Centre on 26 April 2006
Press Centre

ASDA today (insert date) announced that it would be introducing in-store butchers and meat counters in a five store pilot starting in June.

The move, which sees butchers back at stores in Milton Keynes, Longwell Green,(Bristol), Hamilton (nr Glasgow), Swindon Haydon and Livingston (Edinburgh), comes directly as a result of customer demands. It’s also in-line with ASDA’s new More for You for Less strap line which is all about bringing customers added value over and above price.

The serve over counters will bring a more traditional style of butchery to stores. Customers will be able to select a variety of different cuts of meat as well as bacon and sausage from the counter with butchers, weighing, wrapping and pricing the customer’s choice in front of them.

The trial will also share best practice from ASDA’s 13 stores in Northern Ireland all of which have in-store butchers and meat sales are up 20% since January 2006.

If the pilot is successful ASDA anticipates that it will roll out 70 more counters with qualified butchers, to around 70 stores over the next 18 months.

“The trial is all about delivering an even better meat offer for customers that’s truly bespoke, delivered with great customer service and product knowledge to meet their every changing needs,” said Nick Scrase, director meat, bakery and produce.

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Further information:
ASDA Press Office on tel: 0113 241 7829

Posted in Press Centre on 28 April 2006
Press Centre

ASDA today [27th April] announced it is planning to be the first UK supermarket to move into the property market. From the summer, customers in ten of its North East stores will be able to sell their home alongside the sausages or browse for a bungalow amongst the baked beans.

The service, called Homes @ Supermarkets(1), takes the concept of the traditional supermarket community noticeboard into the 21st century. From July, instead of advertising flats to let via postcards on a pinboard, ASDA customers will be able to browse properties for sale in their area via a high-tech touchscreen terminal at the front of the store. If the trial is a success it could be rolled out to other areas of the UK within the year.

Buying a house couldn’t be simpler. Customers visiting their local ASDA to do the weekly shop can stop by the terminal and browse the property listings. By simply keying in their contact details, someone at Homes @ Supermarkets will be in touch to arrange a viewing. Customers can also browse what’s on offer via a dedicated website.

Selling your house is equally easy. Customers key in their phone number and a Homes @ Supermarket representative will get in touch. One of their fully-qualified surveyors will come out to measure-up, conduct a valuation, take photos and, via a state-of-the-art PDA, will upload their home details onto the Homes @ Supermarkets database ready for ASDA customers to see in store. Conveyancing and home insurance can also be wrapped up as part of the one-stop service that will save customers both time and money.

Of course it all comes at ASDA price with sellers paying only a fraction of what high street estate agencies charge. ASDA expects to be able to save home sellers around £2000 worth of charges by offering free HIP (Home Information Packs comprising survey, search and land registry information (2)) and a low fee.

“House prices have skyrocketed in recent years and estate agents have done very nicely from it.” Said Gev Lynott, ASDA’s Financial Services director, “We’ve brought ASDA value to everything from handbags to hamburgers and we’re now doing this for house sales as well. Customers trust us to be a hub for all the local contacts and information they need. For years, postcards on our community boards have helped customers rent their perfect pad – now we’re going to help them buy it.”

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Further information:
Rachel Fellows, ASDA Press Office, 0113 241 8857
Out of hours, 0113 243 5435

Posted in Press Centre on 27 April 2006