‘Save money. Live better’ is more than just a slogan. It runs through everything we do. Whether we’re in our stores, Distribution Centres or Head Offices, we’re here to give our customers and their families the best possible Asda experience. We’ve even been named Community Retailer of the Year on three successive occasions. And the trophies don’t stop there, as we keep winning awards for our food, products and services. It’s why green to us is more than just the colour of our clothes - it’s a promise to send absolutely no waste to landfill. And we’re having a whole trolley full of fun doing it together. Through every one of our colleagues, Asda just keeps getting better.
Like all of our delicious food, our history is packed with flavour. Here’s just a taster of the wonderful world of Asda, George and how we became the business we are today. (Spoiler: it’s all because of our brilliant colleagues.) For the full Asda history, you can always check out our special website that celebrates 50 years of helping people to live better.
In the 1920's, a group of Yorkshire dairy farmers started Hindell’s Dairy Farmers Ltd. At the same time in West Yorkshire, the Asquith family opened their seventh butcher shop in the area. After being bought out in 1949, the Hindell's business moved to Leeds and became Associated Dairies & Farm Stores Limited.
The sons of the Asquith family, Peter and Fred, opened ‘Queen’s Supermarket’ in Pontefract. It proved to be quite popular, offering ‘Permanent Reductions’ and a shop that was open until 8pm on Fridays. Five years later, the Asquith brothers decided to join forces with the Associated Dairies. Which led to the creation of Asda (ASquith + DAiries… get it?).
The pocket tap is back! But did you know, it first came about in 1977? Now, if you want to officially say Asda in sign language, all you have to do is tap that pocket.
In 1988, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened the state-of-the-art Asda House in Leeds. And to this day it remains our home. But in a decade that started well, the purchase of Gateway Supermarkets in 1989 stretched our finances and the share price started to plummet. However, on a positive note, the same year saw fashion make its way to Asda in the form of George. Created by style guru George Davies, it eventually became one of the UK’s top clothing brands.
Times were hard for Asda. That was until Archie Norman came along. The youngest ever CEO of a FTSE 100 company concentrated on restoring value at the heart of the Asda brand. The same year, Asda Way of Working was created, making our stores the heroes of the business, and every colleague started being called by their first name.
With only a few more months until the new millennium, the world’s biggest and best retailer, Walmart, acquired Asda. To this day, we’re working together to help people save money so they can live better.
With the introduction of Walmart’s All Colleague Bonus, every Asda colleague had a new reason to be happy. Two years after that, Asda was named the top company to work for by the Sunday Times.
Two years after moving to a new purpose built Head Office, George starts supporting the future of fashion as the sponsor of Graduate Fashion Week. We enjoyed it so much, we continued for five years.
It’s amazing to think about it now, but not that long ago that we didn’t have Community Life. Now it’s a huge part of what we do in store. Keep reading below to discover more of the work we do with our community. In the same year, our new Merchandising Centre of Excellence opened in Leeds. As a 90,000 sq. ft. former bottling plant, it’s become a key part of Asda. And a global best practice for Walmart.
This was another big year for us. We were named as one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women. We launched our Global E-Commerce Centre in Asda House, which supports all of Walmart’s e-commerce platforms. And it was the year we started to provide our George customers with brilliant homeware. So now people across the country can have affordable yet quality products to make their house a home.
We’re 50! To celebrate, we were given a wonderful present from our Walmart family, as Save money. Live better became our mission statement. But we didn’t stop there. The pocket tap also returned, our Pharmacies turned 15, and George (the most stylish member of the family) enjoyed 25 years of quality design at affordable prices. So here’s to even more years of helping people live better.
The Asda history
You know, helping people isn't something we do to tick a corporate check box. It’s who we really are. In fact, working with the community is a big part of being an Asda colleague. And when you come into Asda, you can instantly see just how much they care. We’re all busy raising money for national and local charities. Giving our communities somewhere to meet up. Jumping in head first to help people who need it. It’s just who we are.
The community is important to our colleagues. It is, after all, where we spend most of our time. And we’re in over 500 different places, so that’s a lot of communities. So rather than giving all of our energy to big national charities (who we continue to support), we thought we’d give something back to the places our colleagues call home.
There aren't a lot of things that matter more than our lovely planet. After all, it’s a home we all have in common. And to us, the best way to help is to keep reducing the amount of energy we use, regardless of how much we grow. But we could do more. So we are. In fact, we’re meeting our local people to teach them about the environment, and how they can do their bit. From litter picking to Love Food Hate Waste, we’re helping make Mother Earth a little bit healthier.
One way to live a happier life is to live a healthier life. It’s not just good for the body, but for the old grey matter too. Thanks to all of the Asda colleagues who volunteer, we’re getting more involved with healthy living than ever before. Whether it’s through our Asda Active - teaching kids about healthier cooking - or just getting the family out of the house during the summer holidays, it’s easy for our colleagues to be involved in getting their communities active.
With colleagues ageing from 17 to their late 80s, we have a wonderful mix of people, backgrounds, potential and experience at Asda. And all of our part-time, seasonal and full-time colleagues make us that little bit better. Unfortunately, we can’t hire everyone (we wish we could). But we are getting involved by having local initiatives that are designed to help tackle unemployment. Take our partnership with Young Enterprise. Students run their own business, and our Store Managers go along to act as judges (in true Dragon’s Den style) and mentors. We even give the students a chance to sell their products in an actual store.
We wouldn’t be the supermarket we are without all of the wonderful people who come and shop in our stores. It’s because of them that we’re able to give so much back to others across the country. Which is why, on top of the brilliant work we do with national charities, we decided to focus on the places our colleagues and customers call home. Now, Asda is more than just a bunch of buildings that help people save money. It’s a space for communities to meet, discover local charities, benefit from our community life force. And live better.
Green to us isn’t just the colour of the big letters above our sliding doors. It’s a promise. A promise to cut down our carbon footprint by 30%, reduce the amount of energy we use each year and send absolutely no waste to landfill. But helping the environment isn’t about gimmicks. It’s about making a real change that actually helps the business. It costs a lot to fuel cars and power our stores. And, if we can save money, we can pass those savings onto our customers. So to all you carbon counters, you can now join us and make sustainability last even longer.
Sustain and Exchange
Our Sustain and Exchange network is a place for our colleagues and suppliers to connect with each other. But it’s so much more than just a place to have a good old chinwag. We’re having discussions about how we can all be more sustainable. Because when our suppliers are as serious about sustainability as we are, it really makes the world a greener place.
Love food. Hate waste.
We believe too much waste ends up on the landfill. In fact, you won’t find any of our stores chucking out quality food. But we want to completely prevent any Asda products from hitting the bottom of our country’s bins. By working with WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, we’re teaching our colleagues and customers how to get the most out of what they buy. When you can make saving the planet a part of your weekly budget, it feels even better.