Asda reacts to share slump

Asda has extended its sharesave scheme to an extra 20,000 workers and expects staff to benefit from a slump in its American owner’s share price. Last month the supermarket chain launched its annual employee share scheme, which allows employees to buy its parent firm Wal-Mart shares at a 20% discount.

Meriel Aspinall, shares administrator, said: "The share price is quite low – the sort of situation where hopefully the only way is up. So it’s a good time to start a sharesave [scheme] because there is loads of scope for making a profit." She added that as the options are granted in sterling, the current weak dollar has helped keep the price low. This year, Asda cut the minimum length of service requirement from 12 months to six months, incorporating 20,000 more staff.

It has also begun advertising the benefit in staff toilet cubicals. "People don’t necessarily look at notice boards, so we thought we would put the ads in a prominent place that nobody can miss," said Aspinall.