EXCLUSIVE: Asda to expand convenience and wholesale business [UPDATE]

The supermarket is recruiting to bolster its wholesale division

Asda cash and carry

Asda is recruiting for the “rapid expansion” of a new convenience and wholesale business, a division it is expecting to “significantly contribute to its growth ambitions”.

Last month, the supermarket closed applications for a senior director of channel operations (wholesale & convenience) role. In the advertisement, the supermarket said: “Convenience and wholesale is a new channel within Asda, set to significantly contribute to Asda’s growth ambitions.

“This role will own the convenience and wholesale operations, including the design and development of critical capabilities, end-to-end operational and retail readiness, and the implementation and execution of rapid growth over the next five years.

“As an expert in the field of wholesale and convenience, this role is accountable for defining and landing Asda’s convenience and wholesale strategy, alongside senior directors for other functional areas.”

The advert also stated the successful applicant will be responsible for a team of around 60 people.

In January, Asda notably recruited former Nisa chief executive Ken Towle as its retail director. The supermarket was also recently acquired by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, founders of EG Group, which started as an independent forecourt business.

Asda launched its Deal Depot concept in 2019 next to its Bristol Patchway branch. Operating similarly to Costco, the cash-and-carry site offers items in bulk to both retailers and members of the public. The concept has since been rolled out as a concession in 10 additional Asda sites throughout England.

Wholesale expert David Gilroy told Better Retailing the recruitment drive was likely spurred on by Morrisons, which has started its own aggressive expansion of its wholesale business and Morrisons Daily franchise.

“There are a lot of advantages for retailers here,” he added. “It gives them another source of supply and it will be very competitive in wholesale pricing.”

“Asda has a very good own label and the Issa brothers come from independent convenience, so they know the sector very well.

“It will potentially force other independent wholesalers who aren’t partnered with a multiple to look at their own businesses, as competition on pricing, range and supply increases.”

However, one senior wholesale source, who asked not to be named, warned Asda would be stricter on compliance with partnered stores.

Asda was approached for comment.

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