The Guardian reports that the second-biggest UK supermarket chain Asda, owned by US retail giant Wal-Mart, has agreed to buy 12 Safeway stores in Northern Ireland from WM Morrison for £73.6million – bringing Asda into direct competition here with current retail-sector leader Tesco. The 12 stores are at Ballyclare, Bangor, Coleraine, Cookstown, Dundonald, Enniskillen, Kilkeel, Newtonards, Omagh, Strabane and Shore Road and Westwood in Belfast. The standard statements have been made, no price rises, current suppliers’ deals honoured, jobs to be created.. the deal has still to be approved by the Office of Fair Trading.. but I doubt if they’ll turn down the, indirect, involvement of Wal-Mart in NI.
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