Is Walmart In The Uk Or London? (Yes, But Not What You Think)
Walmart, a mega-retailer, has over 11,000 stores around the world. It employs millions and serves hundreds of millions each day.
It might seem natural, then, that shoppers in London and the UK can just pop into their local Walmart and pick up whatever they need, right?
Is Walmart In The UK Or London In 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 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 is a well-known UK supermarket chain since 1920s when it opened its first location in West Yorkshire.
The business started as a small butcher shop. Over time, it grew and became a chain of discount supermarkets.
In the 60s and the 70s, the chain expanded to the south. It eventually reached London in 1982.
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.
Yet, it seems that the merger was not a shock.
Asda was opening new stores. The Supercentres are named after Walmart.
Walmart was not surprised that Asda would be looking at the Asda franchise with affection.
The acquisition appeared at the time to be the beginning of Walmart’s European dominance.
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 .
Their “exit” to the UK market after establishing a strong foothold with Asda is explained by the Issa Brothers/EG Group purchaseout.
Why is ASDA not called Walmart
Quora commenter has an interesting explanation of why Asda store did not transform into Walmart stores in 1999.
In his opinion, this was an intelligent move by Walmart to not alienate UK shoppers with the decidedly American take on retail (which Walmart represents).
Walmart could instead silently profit from the Asda brand loyalty and brand trust built over time in the UK.
It doesn’t surprise me that I become upset whenever my grocery store layout changes.
The disruption caused by a total rebranding and the complete destruction of the layout of Asda’s stores would have been very disruptive.
This is just the emotional cost.
Practically speaking, imagine how expensive that would have been for Walmart! Asda, for example, has many locations in the UK.
How are Asda and Walmart similar?
As I said, Walmart acquired Asda because there are enough similarities between them.
Business Insider had some fun with their reporting and visited both Asda’s and Walmart.
A typical Asda or Walmart will have produce aisles near the front.
Individually, meats/butchers, seafood, bakeries, etc., are divided and placed at the back, along with the sides, of the shops, or leading back.
Asda offers a wide range of ready-made foods, which you can either microwave or bake.
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.
Walmart Acquired ASDA from Whom?
Walmart still exists in the UK technically with their small stake in Asda. However, the Issa Brothers, who are both billionaires, and new owners of the EG Group, are now the Issas.
You can read our posts related to Walmart’s expansion in other countries. These include: if Walmart stores are in Japan; if Walmart exists in India and if Walmart will be coming to New Zealand.
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 may be shifting its attention to Asian markets after the Asda business was sold.
.Is Walmart In The Uk Or London? (Yes, But Not What You Think)