Walmart is selling its supermarket chain Asda, which has 341 locations across the United Kingdom, and has revealed a new Store Design focusing on a digitally enabled shopping experience.
The retailer is selling the majority stake in Asda Group Ltd., Britain’s third-largest grocery chain, to an investment group for an enterprise value of $8.8 billion.
Under the new ownership structure, the Issa brothers, Mohsin and Zuber Issa, and TDR Capital are acquiring a majority ownership stake in Asda. Walmart will retain an equity investment in the business, with an ongoing commercial relationship and a seat on the board. The Issa brothers are the founders and co-CEOs of EG Group, a global convenience store retailer.
The Issa brothers, backed by TDR Capital, will support and accelerate Asda’s existing strategy, which is anchored in delivering low prices and convenience to customers however they want to shop. Asda will remain headquartered in Leeds and will continue to be led by Asda CEO Roger Burnley who will form part of Asda’s board alongside representatives appointed by the Issa brothers, TDR Capital and Walmart.
“This new ownership opens an exciting new chapter in Asda’s long heritage of delivering great value for UK shoppers,” said Burnley. “With our combined investment, expertise and ambition; Asda, Walmart, the Issa brothers and TDR have an incredible opportunity to accelerate our existing strategy and develop an even more exciting offer for our customers as well as strengthen our business for our colleagues.”
As well as accelerating Asda’s existing strategy, the Issa brothers will bring significant additional expertise, particularly in convenience retail and brand partnerships, drawing on their experience of building a global convenience retailer with more than 6,000 sites.
“We are delighted to be able to announce this deal today, which we believe creates the right ownership structure for Asda, building on its 71 year-heritage, whilst bringing a new entrepreneurial flair, not only to Asda, but also to UK retailing,” said Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International. “I’m delighted that Walmart will retain a significant financial stake, a board seat, and will continue as a strategic partner.
Walmart reveals new Store Design
In the last week, Walmart has also unveiled a new store design focusing on a digitally enabled shopping experience, which it said will be in nearly 200 Supercenters as well as in select Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets by the end of Walmart’s fiscal year (end of January 2021). Walamrt said the redesign will encompass close to 1,000 stores by next fiscal year.
The new layout spotlights products and an end-to-end digital navigation that guides customers throughout the store. Janey Whiteside, EVP and chief customer officer, Walmart , said the retailer was inspired by airport wayfinding systems as best-in-class examples of how to direct large groups of people.
“We developed simple yet thoughtful designs to replicate these navigation efficiencies, which will help us move customers through the store more quickly,” she said. “We also optimized product layout, bringing greater visibility to key items throughout the store, including dedicated in-store sections for electronics, toys, baby products and more.”
Walmart signage was updated to reflect the Walmart app icon. As customers enter the store, they are greeted with a store directory that encourages them to download and use the Walmart app while they shop. Throughout the store aisles are marked with letter and number combinations to guide customers from phone to product.
Stores will also include self-checkout kiosks as well as contactless payment solutions, including Walmart Pay, to limit contact between associates and customers. Select locations will also have Scan & Go to help customers manage their checkout directly.