Is Walmart In The Uk Or London? (Yes, But Not What You Think)
Mega-retailer Walmart operates over 11,000 locations all around the globe, employing millions of people and serving hundreds of millions every day.
It may seem natural then that UK shoppers could just go into their local Walmart and grab whatever they want.
Walmart Will Be In The UK, Or London By 2022
Walmart invests equity in Asda in the UK. Asda was originally purchased by Walmart in 1999. The company’s name was retained and it marked Walmart’s entrance into the UK Market. Walmart was retained as an equity investor and a board member when the majority-stake purchase of Asda by the Issa Brothers took place in 2021.
How did Walmart become a British company?
Asda has been a well-known supermarket chain in the UK since the 1920s, when the first locations opened in West Yorkshire.
Originally a butcher get-up, the offerings expanded, and the business grew to become a series of discount-price supermarkets.
Throughout the 60s and 70s the chain expanded south, eventually entering London in 1982.
By the 90s, however, Asda was nearing bankruptcy and there were rumors of a merger.
The announcement that Walmart was making a $10.8 million bid to buy Asda came out in June 1999. It caused panic among UK retailers.
Asda announced that it had ended negotiations with Kingfisher plc. Walmart and Asda both denied having any plans to collaborate in the months before.
It seems as though the merger couldn’t be a total surprise.
Asda had begun opening larger stores, called “Supercentres” after the Walmart model, and maintained an emphasis on discount pricing.
Walmart surely would have appreciated the Asda-chain.
The acquisition appeared at the time to be the beginning of Walmart’s European dominance.
However, after not launching particularly well in Germany under the Walmart brand, it seems that Walmart has decided to look elsewhere for expansion.
This context explains why the Issa brothers/EG Group boughtout the UK market. They had established a foothold in the UK with Asda for 20 years.
Why is ASDA not called Walmart
Quora comments offer a plausible explanation why Asda retail stores didn’t transform into Walmart shops in 1999.
His opinion was that Walmart made this smart decision to protect UK customers from the Americanized take on retail, which Walmart represents.
Walmart, however could profit quietly from the brand loyalty and trust that UK customers had for Asda over the past half-century.
I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but it makes me mad when my grocery store has a different layout.
The disruption caused by a total rebranding and the complete destruction of the layout of Asda’s stores would have been very disruptive.
And that’s just the emotional toll.
Imagine how costly that would have made Walmart look! Asda does, after all, have hundreds of locations throughout the UK.
Is Asda and Walmart Similar?
As I mentioned previously, there is enough similar between Asda and Walmart to have made Walmart’s initial acquisition an attractive one.
Some enterprising writers at Business Insider visited both an Asda and a Walmart to report on what’s alike and what’s different.
Both a Walmart and Asda have good produce departments near the front.
The meat/butchers, seafood, and bakery sections are separated and placed along the side or near the back of the store.
Asda also offers ready-to-eat meals. These are the kind of foods you can just pop into the oven or microwave.
Walmart, appealing to American shoppers who love convenience, does much the same, usually with an island cooler near the deli, where you can find heat-and-eat meals in plastic containers.
Their final takeaway was that while the layouts and varieties of foods were much alike, Asda is more of a grocery store, and Walmart is more of an “everything” store.
Who Acquired ASDA From Walmart?
Walmart is still technically present in the UK with their minority stake in Asda, but the new owners are the Issa brothers, billionaires and owners of the EG Group.
Walmart’s plans to expand into new countries can be found in our post on whether Walmart operates in Japan and India.
Walmart’s presence in the UK and London has diminished since the Asda buyout by the Issa brothers.
Walmart had the Asda grocery chain in London and UK for nearly 20 years, as part its network of international holdings.
Walmart seems to have shifted its focus away from the United States and is now looking towards Asian markets with the Asda sale.
.Is Walmart In The Uk Or London? (Yes, But Not What You Think)