UK's Asda to invest 700 mln stg, create 2,500 jobs

LONDON, April 23 Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:50am EDT

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Asda, Britain's second-biggest grocer, said on Tuesday it would invest over 700 million pounds ($1 billion) this year in its online operations, new and existing stores and its supply chain, helping to create 2,500 new jobs.

The British arm of U.S. retailer Wal-Mart, which currently trades from 568 UK stores, said it will open 10 new stores in the remainder of the year - five superstores, four new small format supermarkets and one non-food outlet.

Two new stores have already opened this year.

Asda said the focus of its investment has shifted to accelerating its multichannel business, with stores supporting internet and smartphone channels.

The firm is investing in 'Click and Collect' facilities - where customers order online for collection in store - for George clothing and general merchandise in all its stores.

It said customers will be able to collect grocery shopping from almost 200 outlets by the end of 2013, including from stores and lockers at Asda petrol stations.

Asda grew total sales in 2012 by 4.5 percent to 22.8 billion pounds.

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