May 12, 2010
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Wal-Mart promotes Andy Clarke to be Asda CEO

May 12, 2010

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart (WMT.N), the world's biggest retailer, has promoted Andy Clarke to be chief executive of British arm Asda, which is looking to stem a decline in market share in recent months.

Wal-Mart, Asda

Clarke, 46, was previously chief operating officer of Asda and was widely tipped for the job last week after trading director Darren Blackhurst left the company and other potential rival candidates ruled themselves out.

Asda, Britain's second-biggest supermarket group behind Tesco (TSCO.L), grew strongly throughout the recession, benefitting from its reputation for low prices.

But it has lost a little market share in recent months as consumers have starting treating themselves again.

The group surprised analysts and investors last month, when it announced that chief executive Andy Bond was moving to become part-time chairman -- days before it unveiled a big expansion of non-food and smaller format stores.

It has since also launched a "price guarantee," offering to refund shoppers the difference if they can find their groceries cheaper elsewhere.

Clarke, who is taking up his new role immediately, joined Asda in 1992.

He left between 2001 and 2005, when he held senior roles at discount fashion chain Matalan and frozen food specialist Iceland, before returning as retail director. He became chief operating officer in 2007. (Reporting by Mark Potter, editing by James Davey)

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