Press Centre

Today ASDA announced the appointment of Rick Bendel, COO of Publicis Worldwide, as Group Marketing Director.

Rick has been close to the ASDA business for many years. For the last seventeen years, Publicis has created ASDA’s TV, radio and press advertising campaigns and Rick has personally played a significant role in many of ASDA’s most successful strategic initiatives (eg: the launch of Rollback in 1999).

Most recently, ASDA and Publicis have developed the ‘More For You For Less’ campaign designed to broaden ASDA’s appeal and highlight its range of Extra Special premium foods, Must Have clothing and the Great Stuff children’s meals.

It also created the enormously successful series of press and TV ads featuring Coleen McLoughlin as the face of George clothing.

He joins at the end of the month as a board director reporting directly to CEO, Andy Bond. He will lead the ASDA Brand team that develops its own label ranges and will have responsibility for all of ASDA’s advertising and marketing and all other aspects of both the ASDA and George brand development. His key role will be to ensure that ASDA becomes more customer-centric in its strategic and tactical decision making.

"It’s great to be welcoming Rick to the ASDA business, and in such a critical role." Said Andy Bond, ASDA’s Chief Executive, "We’re nine months into our two year recovery programme and the business is firmly back on track. A fresh and invigorated approach to marketing is critical to the next stage of our recovery plans. Rick’s understanding of the ASDA brand will be invaluable in driving real change in how people see us. His unique perspective makes him the perfect choice for the role."

Rick Bendel said, "I’ve a passion for retail and have admired the ASDA business for years. As well as a deep understanding of ASDA’s history and heritage, I can bring fresh ideas on where we take our brand in the future. The opportunity to do this at a time of real innovation, and as part of a dynamic executive team, was something I couldn’t pass up."

Rick also cited personal reasons for the move, "Travelling the world and managing an exciting list of international clients has been fun but it’s time to trade departure lounge life for time with the family."

- Ends –

Further information: Rachel Fellows, ASDA Press Office, 0113 241 8857

Out of Hours, 0113 243 5435 (on call press officer available)

Posted in Press Centre on 05 October 2006
Press Centre

ASDA today (Wednesday, 18 October 2006) celebrated the second anniversary of its direct relationship with British dairy farmers. The supermarket confirmed it has paid out nearly £6m extra to producers as a result of the deal, which entitles farmers to a 1p per litre premium above and beyond the Arla base price*.

ASDA also took the opportunity to welcome Sainsbury's decision this week to follow its lead and start working directly with dairy farmers rather than sourcing milk from an anonymous pool of producers.  

ASDA has consistently challenged other retailers to follow its lead and adopt the NFU's Vision for the Dairy Industry. Two years ago the supermarket appointed Arla to become its sole supplier of fresh, liquid milk. As a result a dedicated group of 550 producers, the ASDA Farmer Partners, began supplying the retailer with all of its fresh, own label milk for ASDA stores in Great Britain.   

All of the participating farms are located close to the dairies that process their milk - this ensures ASDA’s milk only comes from cattle that graze on nearby farms. ASDA estimates that the switch to using dedicated farmers has saved around five million road miles a year. 

Chris Brown, head of ethical and sustainable sourcing said: "We're completely open about what we pay our farmers, while most of our competitors still prefer to keep their prices under lock and key. By having a group of dedicated farmers who supply all our British milk, we're able to pay them more, charge our customers less, and reduce the distances our milk travels around the country.  

"We welcome Sainsbury's announcement to follow our lead, and hope other supermarkets will now do likewise." 

To celebrate the second birthday of the partnership ASDA is offering its customers the chance to win a 1.6 Mini Cooper in a unique black and white Friesian cow design worth £15,500 (the same amount of extra money each ASDA dairy farmer earns every two years through the premium it pays for its milk).  

The winner of the car will also receive £1,000 towards the first year’s car insurance, and there are 200 runners-up prizes of 100 Country Cow festival cow tents, worth £50 each and 100 Country Cow kids’ sleeping bags worth £20. To enter simply log on to www.asda.com and complete an online entry form, closing date is midnight on 13th November 2006.

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Posted in Press Centre on 18 October 2006
Press Centre

ASDA today (Monday, 30 October 2006) celebrated the fifth anniversary of its pioneering train service which transports groceries, general merchandise and clothing products from distribution centres in the Midlands to stores in Scotland. The daily service has clocked up more than 22m miles since it was launched in 2001.

By switching more of its freight to rail ASDA estimates it has reduced the overall number of road miles travelled by its fleet transport by around 5%, and is on course to hit a commitment to reduce the amount of carbon it produces by 80,000 metric tonnes by the end of 2008.

The ASDA train started running from Lutterworth, Corby and Brackmills depots in 2001 via the rail terminal at Daventry to a terminal in Grangemouth Scotland. Since then ASDA has sent an average of 26 containers per day north (totalling 30,000 containers), saving 20m road miles.

In 2004 the supermarket also began running trains from Grangemouth to stores in the Aberdeen area, saving a further two million road miles.

Ian Bowles environment manager at ASDA said: "Since 2001 we've slashed the number of ASDA lorries on the roads and significantly cut our carbon emissions as a result. This year we went one step further and opened a deep sea port facility in Teesside, cutting a further 1.5m road miles by shipping goods directly to the north by sea, rather than via southern ports like Felixstowe."

ASDA has a policy of collecting products from its suppliers on return trips from its stores to its depots saving half a million road miles each year. In addition the 750 lorries used in ASDA's fleet distribution network have been converted to run on a bio-diesel mix reducing carbon tail pipe emissions by 3%. Each truck is under four years old, making the fleet one of the most fuel efficient on UK roads.

Ian added: "As part of our on-going efforts to minimise CO2 emissions, we're also seeking planning permission to install two-mega-watt wind turbines at our depots. We aim to have five sites fully operational by the end of 2007 positioned across the UK."

ASDA is also working with Yorkshire Forward and the UK Carbon Trust. A ‘Carbon Club’ has also been established with 11 major suppliers to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in its supply chain.

-ends-

Posted in Press Centre on 30 October 2006
Press Centre

ASDA announced today (Wednesday 25th October 2006) that its store in Canford Heath, Dorset is set be the first supermarket in the UK to recycle, reuse or compost all of its waste rather than send it to landfill.  

The ASDA store near Poole currently recycles around 20% of its general waste (mostly excess cardboard and plastic), with the rest going into landfill. Approximately 65% of all the general waste produced by ASDA stores could be composted each year - equivalent to 58,000 tonnes nationwide.  

Thanks to a partnership with New Earth Solutions, a recycling company based in nearby Wimborne, all the waste fruit and veg from the back of the ASDA store will be composted instead of sent to landfill. In the coming weeks the store's waste bakery products will also be sent for composting, followed by animal by-products in the coming months.  

In July this year ASDA committed to send nothing to landfill from any of its stores or depots by 2010. The supermarket has steadily reduced the amount of waste it produces each year from 140,000 tonnes in 2001 to 88,000 tonnes in 2005*, this is despite opening more than 70 extra supermarkets in the same time period.  

Simon Fern, environment manager at ASDA said: "Landfill sites in the UK are gradually running out of capacity, which means we need to find innovative and more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of our waste.

"By using specially designed composting units we're able to take all the waste food from the back of our store and turn it into good quality organic compost. As a result 150 tonnes of general waste will be diverted from local landfill sites each year." 

Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Local Environment Quality, said: "Reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill is an urgent priority and a vital part of the battle against climate change. We cannot expect consumers to get fully engaged with reducing their own waste unless producers and retailers demonstrate a clear commitment to the same principles.  

"I'd like to see more retailers setting ambitious targets of this kind and making that commitment publicly. The potential for having a positive influence which goes far beyond their own contribution is immense." 

Peter Mills, director of New Earth Solutions, the company that is helping ASDA compost waste from its store in Poole added: "We've spent a number of years developing recycling technologies that divert waste out of landfill sites and convert it into compost. We're delighted to be able to support ASDA's aim of reusing, recycling or composting all its store waste." 

David Lusher, commercial director with Veolia Environmental Services, ASDA's long standing waste management partner, said: "ASDA has a genuine desire to deliver sustainable solutions for dealing with its waste. This announcement moves it one step closer to achieving its aim of zero waste to landfill by 2010. We'd encourage other supermarkets to follow ASDA's lead."

ENDS

Posted in Press Centre on 25 October 2006
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ASDA announced today that it is scrapping its ‘under 18’ pay rate to offer equal rates of pay for all colleagues doing the same job, regardless of  whether they’re sixteen or sixty. 

The move comes in the same week that new age discrimination legislation comes into effect, although the new rules do not force employers to level the pay playing field in this way.   

Until now, it’s been common practice for retailers to pay under 18s a lower rate of pay for doing the same job as someone who is over the age of 18.

ASDA believes this is no longer acceptable and has become the first supermarket to announce plans to put a stop to the practice. ASDA has more than 5,000 colleagues who are under 18 working in its stores across England, Scotland and Wales and is investing over £1.7 million in upping their pay rate to match the pay of older workers. 

This will see the average worker under the age of 18 take home an extra £300 over the next year. 

There is currently a different National Minimum Wage for people under 18, which from this week is set at £3.30 an hour, as opposed to £5.35 an hour for those over the age of 21. 

This allows employers to pay people under the age of 18 a much lower hourly rate for doing the same job as someone who’s a few years older. 

Sarah Dickins, head of reward & recognition at ASDA, said: "We simply don’t see why young people under the age of 18 working in our stores should be paid any less for doing the same job as someone a bit older. 

  “With the new age discrimination rules coming into force next week, we’ve taken another look at all our policies and have decided we no longer think it’s acceptable to have different pay rates for different age groups – you should be paid for the job you do, regardless of your age. 

Jude Brimble, GMB national officer for GMB members in ASDA said:

"It has been a long-standing GMB principle that people should be paid the rate for the job they do, regardless of age. So this is a very important breakthrough at ASDA for young workers. GMB welcomes this and consider that the Low Pay Commission should follow suit and recommend that this become the law of the land". 

ASDA operates a number of flexible working packages to support younger workers including a ‘store swap’ scheme that allows those studying away from home to work in a store near their college as well as in their home store. 

ASDA also has a number of younger workers amongst its 10,000-strong ‘Seasonal Squad’ who work for the supermarket for at least ten weeks every year often over the Christmas period and during the summer months.

 

Posted in Press Centre on 04 October 2006
Press Centre

ASDA announced today that it is scrapping its ‘under 18’ pay rate to offer equal rates of pay for all colleagues doing the same job, regardless of  whether they’re sixteen or sixty.   

The move comes in the same week that new age discrimination legislation comes into effect, although the new rules do not force employers to level the pay playing field in this way.   

Until now, it’s been common practice for retailers to pay under 18s a lower rate of pay for doing the same job as someone who is over the age of 18.  

ASDA believes this is no longer acceptable and has become the first supermarket to announce plans to put a stop to the practice. 

ASDA has more than 5,000 colleagues who are under 18 working in its stores across England, Scotland and Wales and is investing over £1.7 million in upping their pay rate to match the pay of older workers. 

This will see the average worker under the age of 18 take home an extra £300 over the next year. 

There is currently a different National Minimum Wage for people under 18, which from this week is set at £3.30 an hour, as opposed to £5.35 an hour for those over the age of 21. 

This allows employers to pay people under the age of 18 a much lower hourly rate for doing the same job as someone who’s a few years older. 

Sarah Dickins, head of reward & recognition at ASDA, said: "We simply don’t see why young people under the age of 18 working in our stores should be paid any less for doing the same job as someone a bit older.   

 “With the new age discrimination rules coming into force next week, we’ve taken another look at all our policies and have decided we no longer think it’s acceptable to have different pay rates for different age groups – you should be paid for the job you do, regardless of your age.” 

Jude Brimble, GMB national officer for GMB members in ASDA said: "It has been a long-standing GMB principle that people should be paid the rate for the job they do, regardless of age. So this is a very important breakthrough at ASDA for young workers. GMB welcomes this and consider that the Low Pay Commission should follow suit and recommend that this become the law of the land". 

ASDA operates a number of flexible working packages to support younger workers including a ‘store swap’ scheme that allows those studying away from home to work in a store near their college as well as in their home store. 

ASDA also has a number of younger workers amongst its 10,000-strong ‘Seasonal Squad’ who work for the supermarket for at least ten weeks every year often over the Christmas period and during the summer months.  

 -ENDS-

 

Posted in Press Centre on 04 October 2006
Press Centre

·         Southern England eats most organic food

·         Scotland recycles most plastic carrier bags

·         East Midlands uses most eco-friendly detergents

·         West Country uses most energy saving light bulbs

 

A comprehensive study of consumer buying behaviour has revealed that Brighton is Britain's greenest place to shop.

The figures compiled by ASDA show that consumers across the UK are becoming more environmentally aware, but shopping habits differ considerably depending on where you live. 

 ASDA analysed sales statistics for all of its stores throughout the UK, measuring each town's green credentials against five key indicators*. It found that people living in trendy Brighton eat twice as much organic produce as any other town in the UK.

They also top the list when it comes to buying recycled paper toilet rolls.  Nottingham was a close second to Brighton, with green-minded consumers in the East Midlands using the most eco-friendly detergents. It was also the most consistent performing town appearing in the top ten list for each of the five green categories (see table below).  

However shoppers north of the border in Scotland are ten times more likely to use a reusable carrier bag than those living in the south of England, while those in the West Country have switched on to the benefits of energy saving light bulbs in their thousands. 

Ian Bowles, environment manager at ASDA said: "Customers throughout Britain are turning greener, but where you live makes a big difference to what's top of your 'eco' shopping list.  "The Scots are doing their bit to save plastic by reusing their old carrier bags, while shoppers in the South insist on eating organic fruit and veg.

By comparison shoppers in the West Country spend their green pounds on energy saving light bulbs." Some regional differences in consumer behaviour can be easily explained. For instance MSPs in Scotland recently rejected a plan to charge a 10p levy on plastic carrier bags at supermarket checkouts.

The publicity surrounding the debate has had a direct impact on local shopping habits - three of the UK's top four towns for reusable 'bags for life' are Scottish.  Sales of organic food are much higher in the South East of England where the sector is well established (the UK's first ever organic restaurant, Hugo's, opened in London in 1995).

By comparison shoppers in Northern Ireland prefer to buy 'local' produce, and won't insist on it being 'organic'.  Ian added: "Going green means different things to different people but our research shows it is becoming more main stream.  

"But customers tell us that 'doing the right thing' shouldn't cost the earth - that's why we're determined to help drive down prices wherever we can."  

 This year ASDA has tripled its organic range to 1000 products, and changed the way it sources fish (amid concerns about depleted stocks). It has also committed to send nothing to landfill by 2010 and embarked on a complete review of its own label packaging to reduce the amount of household rubbish shoppers throw away each year.

 

Posted in Press Centre on 03 October 2006
Press Centre

ASDA fired the first shots in the Christmas price war today (26th October) as it announced it was slashing over £2.2m off over 70 of the most popular toy lines in stores nationwide.  

The latest price cuts mean parents will save on average up to twenty per cent on the hottest toys in ASDA compared to high street rivals Argos and Toys R Us. ASDA is selling merchandise from recent blockbuster Hollywood films.

Lighting McQueen, a toy car from the Disney movie 'Cars' (£17.47), is one of the top sellers so far and ASDA is expecting to sell more than 30,000 before Christmas. 

For the girls it looks like it is going to be a battle between Bratz's Princess Doll (£8.78) and Bratz's Diamondz (9.86), both of which are at the top of most Christmas lists this year. 

Potential presents favourites board games, have all been frozen in price for Christmas at ASDA as well. Games like Buckaroo and Twister are now available for £6.96 - more than £3 cheaper than Toys 'R' Us - popular classics such as Operation (£6.46), Guess Who?(£7.64) and Monopoly (£10.46) are the cheapest on the high street. 

David Inglis Non Food Trading Director, at ASDA said:

"We're determined to 'Buckaroo' the high street trend and give our shoppers the best value toys in town. With purse strings tightening and more people watching the pennies this year our job is to keep pushing prices even lower."  

Posted in Press Centre on 26 October 2006