Asda names Clarke as CEO

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London Wal-Mart Stores announced Tuesday that its British grocery subsidiary Asda named current COO Andy Clarke as its president and CEO, effective immediately.

Current CEO Andy Bond will serve as chairman of Asda's executive committee, also effective immediately, Wal-Mart said.

Reports circulated last Thursday that Asda Group Ltd. would announce its new chief sometime this week. Media speculations had Clarke, 46, taking the top position after trading director Darren Blackhurst left the company and other potential rival candidates ruled themselves out.

Asda is Britain's second-biggest supermarket group behind Tesco, but has lost market share in recent months. It announced in April that chief executive Andy Bond was moving to become part-time chairman and that it would unveil a sizeable expansion of non-food lines and introduce smaller-format stores.

Asda has since also launched a "price guarantee" that offers to refund shoppers the difference if they can find their groceries cheaper elsewhere.