Asda has announced it will invest £600m to expand and improve its store estate in the coming year.
According to the AJ’s sister title Construction News, the supermarket will open 17 new supermarkets in 2015, including three in London, in addition to more than 150 remote click and collect sites and 36 petrol stations.
The chain will also expand its refurbishment programme, so that 62 stores undergo a major remodel.
Asda president and chief executive Andy Clarke said the investment in new stores and refurbishments was part of its strategy to redefine value retailing in the UK.
The announcement came as Asda reported a 1 per cent fall in like-for-like sales for the full year to 31 December 2014.
In January, Tesco scrapped plans for 49 new supermarkets and announced its total capital expenditure budget in 2015/16 would be slashed by half to £1bn.
Clarke said the retail market was ‘in one of its most challenging and changeable periods in history’, but that investment in the store estate would help Asda deliver its long-term plan.
Asda opened 17 new stores in 2014 and unveiled a new superstore format focused on fresh food, rather than products that sell well online.
It also launched 200 click and collect sites last year, taking the total to 600 by the end of 2014. It’s target is to have 1,000 by 2018.
Clarke said: ‘I’m pleased that we can announce our continued investment in the UK with £600million for new and improved stores in 2015.
‘With such a powerful force like Walmart behind us that fully supports our strategy, we’re in a unique position in a difficult market – a position of great strength.’