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Walmart mulls Asda stock-market float

Asda’s US based parent group, Walmart, has admitted it is considering floating the UK retailer on the stock-market in order to strengthen its long-term success.

Judith McKenna, the chief executive of Walmart’s international businesses, told Asda staff this week that the business was “seriously considering” launching an initial Public offer, ie launching on the stock market, although she stressed it was “not rushing into anything”.

It comes shortly after the Competitions and Markets Authority scuppered Asda’s proposed merger with Sainsbury’s last month, amid concerns that UK consumers would be worse off if the two giant retailers combined forces.

McKenna reportedly told staff a flotation could take year, but that Walmart would ensure the UK chain had sufficient resources to realise its “potential for even greater things”. In the meantime, Asda would focus on improving its operations, including the implementation of £80m of price cuts to take on rivals such as Aldi and Lidl.

According to Sky News, Asda chief executive Roger Burnley told managers to “focus on what will make a difference to customers versus what won’t”, rather than concentrating on and ‘Plan A or Plan B’, confirming that the supermarket will invest £80m in price cuts, as well as accelerating plans for its online offer, and trialling same-day grocery deliveries.

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