Issa brothers plan aggressive European expansion
Zuber and Mohsin Issa
ASDA owners are looking at expanding the chain into Europe, which will be the first international foray for the supermarket group, reported The Times.
According to the report, Mohsin and Zuber Issa are exploring whether their “Asda On the Move” convenience store chain could be opened across some of their 3,000-plus petrol forecourts across Europe.
The forecourts are operated by EG Group, the petrol station empire owned jointly by the Issas and private equity firm TDR Capital. They bought Asda for £6.8 billion last year.
The supermarket’s new owners are planning to open 200 Asda On the Move convenience stores on EG’s UK forecourts by the end of next year and are also understood to be considering opening new 30,000 to 40,000 sq ft supermarkets, The Times report added.
Besides, food courts will be introduced in Asda’s existing supermarkets, bolster the clothing departments and introduce more health and beauty brands.
However, any international rollout of Asda would be complicated by the onerous customs checks on fresh food that have come into force since the UK left the EU. Last month, Marks & Spencer was forced to shut its 11 stores in France.
Issa Brothers’ EG Group owns and operates forecourts in France, Benelux, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
The acquisition of Asda dumped £3.7bn of debt onto the supermarket’s balance sheet, with the debt pile set to be increased by £500 million after a proposed sale of Asda’s petrol stations to EG Group collapsed when suppliers signalled they would not supply on the same terms, the report further said.
The Issas and TDR are still searching for a new chief executive for Asda after the departure of Roger Burnley earlier this year.