SUPERMARKET giant Asda is to create about 30 jobs on Wearside after clearing a major hurdle in its takeover of rival Netto’s UK operation.
The firm announced this week it had met the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)’s requirement to sell off a number of Netto stores nationwide in order to guarantee continued competition.
Subject to final regulatory approval, Asda will operate 19 Netto stores in the North East and will create up to 190 jobs in the region across its new and existing stores.
A spokeswoman confirmed today Netto stores in Pennywell, Ryhope and on Sunderland Retail Park would be rebranded as Asda, with an average of 10 new jobs created in each.
A store in Castletown has been sold to Morrison’s as part of the takeover deal.
Judith McKenna, Asda chief financial officer, who led the deal, said: “The good news for shoppers here in the North East is that there will be no premium to shop in one of our smaller stores. We will charge the same low prices you will find in any of our stores.”
After Asda’s initial announcement in May that it intended to purchase Netto’s UK stores, the OFT asked the firm to sell off 47 stores across the UK, including a number for which it had to identify a buyer upfront.
Eight Netto branches in the North East will be sold to rival retailers Iceland, Morrisons and Haldanes, who will continue to run them as food stores.
Only the Netto in Birtley remains unsold. Asda has said it will be selling this store in the coming months and it will continue to trade as normal in the meantime.
“Today is another key day in our plan to bring Asda to more customers in many more communities in the North East,” said Ms McKenna.
“We’re delighted that we’re one step closer to welcoming more than 200 local Netto colleagues into Asda, and look forward to welcoming many more in 2011.”