Walmart considering floating UK's Asda on stock exchange

Mike Coupe Sainsbury's chief executive and Martin Scicluna chairman

Asda is now the third largest supermarket in the United Kingdom while its parent company Walmart is the world's largest retailer. Last year, it was announced that Asda had agreed to be taken over by Sainsbury's in a £7bn deal, but the Competition and Markets Authority last month blocked the deal on concerns it could increase prices, reduce quality and choice, or deliver "a poorer shopping experience for all their United Kingdom shoppers".

However, she added that preparations for a flotation could "take years" and in the meantime Walmart would ensure the United Kingdom chain had sufficient resources to realise its "potential for even greater things".

Walmart would have kept a 42% stake in the enlarged Sainbury's-Asda business if the £15bn tie-up had gone ahead.

The remarks by Ms McKenna are the first time that Walmart has spoken about the future of its United Kingdom operations since the CMA blocked the deal.

Gary Carter, national officer of the GMB union, said: "GMB's tens of thousands of Asda members have had enough uncertainty - they need to know that their futures are safe and secure".

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Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna told Asda staff at its mid-year meeting Tuesday in Leeds, northern England, that the world's largest retailer did "not have a one size fits all approach to operating its international markets".

He called on the supermarket to address that "debacle" before any stock market listing took place.

McKenna said the United States retailer did not have a "one size fits all" approach to its divisions around the world and that Asda should focus on improving its operations, including the implementation of £80m of price cuts to take on rivals such as Aldi and Lidl.

As well the test on same-day delivery on groceries, Asda aims to roll out its mobile Scan and Go service in more stores. In addition, there will be additional Click and Collect collection towers installed in Asda stores.

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