Asda’s parent group, Walmart, is to set up an International Acceleration Centre in the UK to develop new grocery home shopping services, further demonstrating the UK’s position as a global leader in this field.
Located in Leeds, the centre is expected to open in the second quarter of this year and will be led by Saeed Anslow, Senior Director of Ecommerce Development at Asda.
It is the first time Walmart has based this kind of operation outside the US.
This move recognises Asda’s prominent ecommerce role within the global Walmart group, and Anslow’s team will share its experience and expertise in the online food world across the international business. It is also seen as a move to counteract the growth of discount stores.
Gavin Chappell, Asda Vice President Ecommerce, said: “The team will be tasked with supporting key Walmart markets in developing, and more importantly implementing, their grocery home shopping strategies. The decision to base this international centre in Leeds recognises UK’s role as the home of innovation and leadership in the grocery home shopping sector.”
Competition from discounters has hit some supermarkets hard. Asda sees differentiation as one way to counter this threat, by making its full range of products available via all online channels, and developing new offers such as same-day click and collect and ‘drive’ services.
The Asda team will work closely with its Walmart colleagues, building on the support it has already given to trial ‘in store pick up’ – click and collect – and on several projects to improve speed to market. This is seen as a hugely important move by Walmart, demonstrating the importance it places on the future of ecommerce.
The UK is now also home to one of Walmart’s three global network operations centres managing Walmart’s web operations 24×7 across the globe – the other two are in Bangladesh and Silicon Valley.