UK: Wal-Mart's ASDA Launches US Style Supercentres
Supermarket giant, ASDA, is jumping feet first into the non-food industry, with the launch of a chain of `supercentres'. Shoppers will be able to buy everything from sportswear to spectacles as the retail giant pledges to deliver what it calls "the American dream" to its customers. And it will be service with more than a smile, as shoppers are helped out by special teams of service squad assistants on scooters. A year on from joining the Wal-Mart family, Asda has opened its first supercentre in Bristol, creating 200 new jobs. And a further two re set to open in Minworth, near Birmingham, and Havant in Hampshire in November, creating another 550 jobs. The supercentres will open 24 hours a day and will sell a range of goods, including branded sports clothing. This will include popular names like Nike, Reebok and Adidas and will also include sports equipment ranging from multi-gyms to leather footballs. There will also be a vision centre where customers can buy everything from designer frames and sunglasses from Calvin Klein, Versace and Emporio Armani to contact lenses. The supercentres have two entrances, one for food and one for non-food. Within seconds of entering one of the entrances, shoppers will be given a personal welcome by one of the store's "greeters". Commenting on the launch of the Bristol supercentre, Allan Leighton, who announced that he was to quit as chief executive and president of Wal-Mart Europe last week, said: "This is the most exciting store in Britain that brings together the best of Wal-Mart with all the things that ASDA is famous for. "This is exactly what today's customers want - the widest range, best value and the friendliest service." The retailer has also targeted 50 of its other stores to sell similar non-food merchandise and plans to reduce its floor space devoted to groceries to 60 per cent from the current mix of 85 per cent in all of its stores.
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