May 7, 2019
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Is Walmart mulling an Asda exit, could B&M be eventual owner of George label?

May 7, 2019

Walmart may have insisted that it would support Asda after the failure of its merger plan with Sainsbury’s, but there have been suggestions that the US giant could now sell the UK supermarket chain that also happens to be one of the biggest names in affordable fashion in Britain.

George at Asda

A sale or even a stock market listing are both being looked at, according to a report in the Daily Mail, with Walmart wanting to focus on stronger growth opportunities in markets such as India.

If Asda is sold, it would mean the George at Asda clothing line, which is one of the biggest affordable labels in UK fashion, also being under new ownership. George accounts for more than a quarter of the value clothing market’s total sales in Britain and last year, Asda said the label was growing in high-double-digits online.

With sale talk back on the agenda, the rumours linking Asda to value retail chain B&M have also resurfaced. There had been talk as far back as 2017 that B&M might be thinking about a £4.4 billion play for Asda, but that was dismissed at the time.

The newspaper said that Walmart has now been approached by B&M, although none of the parties involved has made any comment so far.

Analysts suggested that with grocery margins being very tight, private equity firms might not see much value in Asda so another retail business buying it would make more sense. And it might also make more sense than a listing, as other publicly traded supermarkets aren’t exactly setting the stock market alight at the moment. Watch this space.

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