Walmart has chosen Sean Clarke the head of its business in China to revive its supermarket group in Britain called Asda.
Asda has been the biggest casualty in the price war in the industry that has knocked down its sales for close to two years.
The company said that Clarke would take the reins from Andy Clarke his namesake at Asda July 11 and will be tasked with repositioning the supermarket chain that is now ranked No. 3 behind Sainsbury’s and Tesco in the British marketplace that has become highly competitive.
This move is a huge surprise for many after Andy Clarke announced just last week that he would be succeeded by Roger Burnley at some time after the executive joins the business during October. Burnley was poached by Asda from Sainsbury’s in 2015, which is one of Asda’s biggest rivals.
David Cheesewright the CEO and president of Walmart International said that Burnley would become a deputy CEO and he looked at him as a top talent as well as future CEO.
Sean Clarke started working for Asda back in 2011 and said he was looking forward to his return to the company that helped him become hooked with retail.
He is rejoining a supermarket chain that has now reported seven consecutive quarters of underlying sales drops and a loss in its market share, that includes losing its place as No. 2 in the market to huge rival Sainsbury’s, shows data provided by the industry.
Asda has trailed amongst the big four grocery store chains in Britain that includes the likes of Morrisons, as Lidl and Aldi the discount chains based in Germany have successfully targeted shoppers across Britain.
For the past six years, Andy Clarke has been in charge of Asda.
Last month Walmart announced that it would be shifting the balance of the strategy of Asda from protecting its profits to protecting its market share, which is an indication that more cuts in prices could be on the horizon.
The company made the announcement that Walmart Canada CEO Dirk Van De Berghe would take over the top spot of Walmart’s business in China to replace the outgoing Clarke.
The world of supermarkets have become highly competitive as more and more are offering online services, curb side pickups and more trying to win market share in an industry with very small margins.