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.
So it might be natural that UK and London shoppers can simply go to their nearest Walmart to pick up what they need.
Walmart Will Be In The UK, Or London By 2022
Walmart operates in the UK to hold equity investments in Asda grocery chain. Asda’s original acquisition by Walmart was in 1999. It retained its name and marks Walmart’s entry into UK Market. Walmart retained its seat on the Board and an equity stake in Asda. The majority-stake deal was completed by the Issa brother’s in 2021.
How did Walmart become a British company?
Asda was established in West Yorkshire in 1920 and has been an iconic supermarket chain throughout the UK.
Originally a butcher get-up, the offerings expanded, and the business grew to become a series of discount-price supermarkets.
The chain grew south over the 60s and 70s before eventually reaching London in the 1980s.
By the 90s, however, Asda was nearing bankruptcy and there were rumors of a merger.
On June 29, 1999, Walmart announced it had made a bid for Asda worth $10.8billion. This was a shocking announcement which caused alarm among UK retailers.
Asda has just ended all talks with Kingfisher plc. Walmart, Asda, and Kingfisher plc had both vehemently denied the intention to partner up over the prior months.
It seems as though the merger couldn’t be a total surprise.
Asda started opening more stores. These were called Supercentres after Walmart’s model. They also maintained a high emphasis on discounts.
It’s not surprising, then, that Walmart would have eyed the Asda chain with appreciation.
The acquisition looked like it was the beginning of Walmart’s European dominance at the time.
But after failing to launch particularly well in Germany (under the Walmart store brand), it appears that rather than dig in deeper in Europe, Walmart is looking elsewhere to expand .
That context explains why they bought out the Issa/EG Group after exiting the UK.
Why is ASDA not called Walmart?
One commenter on Quora has a pretty reasonable explanation for why Asda stores did not become Walmart stores back 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.
My grocery store’s layout is something that makes me upset, I don’t know about others.
So the huge disruption of a complete rebranding, plus the total decimation of the store layout Asda shoppers had come to know, would have been extremely off-putting.
This is just the emotional cost.
Practically speaking, this would be a very expensive proposition for Walmart. Asda, for example, has many locations in the UK.
How Are Asda And Walmart Similar?
As I already mentioned, Walmart has enough similarities to make its initial acquisition attractive.
Business Insider reporters visited an Asda as well as a Walmart in order to discover what is similar and what is different.
A typical Asda or Walmart will have produce aisles near the front.
You can find meats/butchers and seafood at the front of each store, or on the sides.
Asda also stocks a large selection of readymade meals.
Walmart is a convenience store that appeals to American customers who like the ease of shopping.
They concluded that although the food layouts were similar, Asda was more of a grocery shop and Walmart was more of an “everything” store.
Walmart Acquired ASDA
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 growth into foreign countries is covered in the related posts.
Walmart’s presence in the UK and London has diminished since the Asda buyout by the Issa brothers.
Walmart, however, did for 20 years operate Asda’s supermarket chain in London as part their international holdings.
With the sale of the Asda company, Walmart appears to be looking toward Asian markets instead.
.Is Walmart In The Uk Or London? (Yes, But Not What You Think)