Asda is planning to launch a bid to overtake Sainsbury's to become the UK's second largest supermarket chain.
The plan includes opening 300 convenience stores over the next four years which will see the creation of 10,000 new jobs around the UK.
The chain, which is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers, has not historically focused on small stores and only currently has two Asda Express stores. The owners are planning to ramp this up quickly and aim to have 30 Express stores open by October 2023.
The 300 new stores are in addition to the 132 convenience stores that the group is acquiring from the Co-op.
Co-owner Mohsin Issa explained: “A key part of our growth strategy is to provide customers with more opportunities to shop at Asda closer to where they live or work. With more than three-quarters of the UK population visiting a convenience store in the last 12 months, the potential for growth in this market is significant. Our ambition is to become the convenience destination of choice by providing shoppers great value and a comprehensive and convenient range of products and services under one roof.”
The new stores will mean that Asda has a similar number of convenience stores as Sainsbury's, but both chains are still a long way behind Tesco which has almost 2,000 Tesco Express stores and 700 One Stop stores.