Britain's third largest supermarket chain, the Wal-Mart owned Asda, is to lift its head over the M25 parapet and extend its Asda@home internet shopping service, predicting that this will available to 60% of the UK population within two years.

By the end of 2001, Asda says it will be offering home shopping services from around 25% of its 240 stores and from nearly 50% by the end of 2002. This will create up to 4,500 jobs, claims the supermarket [ignoring the National Retail Planning Forum’s 1998 report of a net global loss of 276 jobs for every new supermarket opened].

Until now, Asda has confined its home shopping service to the area within the M25, London’s orbital motorway, but extends this from today to designated stores in five metropolitan clusters – the South East, Midlands, Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Glasgow. As and when sales levels justify, the chain will open dedicated home shopping depots in these regions.

The service will also be available from January via BSkyB’s digital TV shopping channel Open.

News source: The Times (London)