ASDA was founded in Leeds in the year 1949, and is originally an acronym for Associated Dairies and Farm Stores Limited. The name ASDA was adopted in 1965 when Associated Dairies merged with Asquith Supermarkets. AS now stands for Asquith and DA stands for Dairies.
In the 1980s, ASDA Stores became a subsidiary of ASDA-MFI. When Allied Carpets and MFI were sold however, the company’s name was changed and became Asda Group PLC. The company’s dairy division was purchased by a different company and its name changed to Associated Fresh Foods. Currently, Asda no longer has any connections to the companies for which it got its name.
Originally, Asda stores were focused on the Northern part of England. However, in 1989, the company started to expand further south by buying Gateway Superstores’ big format stores. This move did not prove to be advantageous for the company as it started to sell too many products and was forced to solicit money from its shareholders (1991 and 1993).
The company was revived when Archie Norman took over leadership. Under Norman’s leadership, Asda stores were patterned after the U.S. supermarket giant Wal-Mart. In 1997, Asda created more than 40 various spice items, referring to the Spice Girls music group, to be sold for Christmas of 1997. The company chose the British girl group because of its huge following in the country during the times. Asda paid the Spice Girls £1 million for the sponsorship deal.
In July of 1999, in order to enter the U.K. market, Wal-Mart bought Asda for £6.7 billion. In 2005, Asda, now under Wal-Mart management, started to expand in the northern part of Ireland by buying twelve Safeway stores.
In 2009, because of restructuring purposes, Wal-Mart ‘sold’ Asda to one of its subsidiary companies, Corinth Services LTD. Because Corinth was also a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, control over Asda remained with Wal-Mart. In May 2010, it was reported that Asda would be buying U.K. operations of Netto to allow Asda to enter the area of more localized, smaller store markets. In February of 2011, Asda bought six FOCUS DIY stores. Plans are to convert these stores to supermarkets, but plans are still subject to approval and consent from various planning boards.
Headquarters: Leeds,West Yorkshire
Ownership Type: Private, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart
ASDA Stores: 523 (August 2011)
Geography: United Kingdom
Demography: retail products consumers
ASDA Customer Care: Contact ASDA