Wal-Mart's Asda Redirects Investment in Bid to Halt Sales Slump

Black Friday Arrives in U.K. as Crowds Descend on Asda Stores
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Asda, the U.K. supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will reallocate more resources to its grocery business as it seeks to reverse a yearlong slump in sales.

Twenty-nine jobs will be cut as the retailer closes its business-to-business sales division, Asda said in a statement Monday. Plans to open remote click-and-collect sites have been put on hold and scheduled expansion across London is being temporarily slowed, the grocer also said.

Under the program, known as Project Renewal, the supermarket will cut prices further over the next 18 months and accelerate refurbish of 95 larger stores.

More than 12 months into a five-year plan to cut prices by 1 billion pounds ($1.54 billion), Asda’s sales are falling at a faster rate than at any of its rivals. The slump is in part due to discount retailers Aldi and Lidl undercutting the prices of the U.K.’s largest grocers -- a gap Asda is aiming to narrow through its investments.

Asda’s statement comes less than a week after Wal-Mart said earnings will decrease by 6 percent to 12 percent in the fiscal year ending January 2017, sending the shares down 10 percent.

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