Business

Asda staff to share £27m bonus pool

Asda trollies
Image caption Asda's sales have been growing - unlike those of its parent company Wal-Mart

Asda's 145,000 UK employees will share a record bonus pot of £27m in recognition of the supermarket chain's performance in 2010.

The bonus is worth up to £350 for full-time staff, although around 20,000 will receive higher amounts - so-called "super-bonuses" of £437 - for meeting internal performance targets.

The total pot is almost £1m bigger than last year.

Asda helped boost US parent Wal-Mart's international sales by 9% last year.

The world's biggest retailer said underlying sales were still falling in its US heartland.

Price-promotion

For Asda, sales in stores open for more than a year grew by 1.6% in the fourth quarter in the face of fierce competition from rivals, which include Tesco, the market leader, and Sainsbury's.

The company has 386 stores after opening another 14 this year.

Asda said the bonus scheme rewarded employees for taking part in customer service activities such as "Go Getters for Forgetters", whereby staff offered to go back for items forgotten by shoppers over the Christmas period.

The annual performance-related bonus scheme was first introduced in 1999 after Asda was acquired by Wal-Mart and is paid to staff who have worked for them for more than six months.

Its good performance was achieved on the back of heavy price-promotion and a wider product range - two strategies which parent company Wal-Mart dropped in the US, leading to falling sales.

Asda has changed its "Extra Special" premium range to try to win customers away from rivals, whose food is perceived to be better quality. It has also introduced a "Chosen by You" range.

Asda's chief executive and president, Andy Clarke, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the colleagues working in our stores and depots are the heroes of our business. They have worked incredibly hard this year to deliver the best for our customers."

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