Asda's Northern Ireland chief stepping down
The chief executive of Northern Ireland's number two supermarket Asda has said he is preparing to step down as UK sales at the Walmart-owned supermarket continue to sag.
But Asda sales in Northern Ireland have bucked the trend UK-wide, with the supermarket joining Sainsbury's in the number two spot.
Mr Clarke said that he will be succeeded by incoming chief operating officer Roger Burnley, who will join the company in October, adding that the pair will at first spend time together before he hands over the reins.
Mr Clarke told trade magazine Retail Week: "I said that I wanted to find somebody who had the ability to be my successor and it took us some time to find the right person, the right cultural fit, the right sort of character and leader that can run the business. He's a great leader and he's going to be a great colleague.
"I look forward to spending time with him and preparing him for what hopefully should be his next role."
In May, Asda revealed another hefty sales slump as it reported the seventh consecutive quarter of sliding sales.
The chain posted a 5.7% fall in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to March 30, showing little improvement on the 5.8% drop seen in its Christmas quarter, which was its biggest quarterly sales fall on record.
A recent report from Kantar Worldpanel said Asda had managed to grow its market share in the year to April 24 by 1.6%, leaving it with a 17.6% slice.
That brought it level with Sainsbury's market share, with the latter's performance slumping by just under 2%.
Figures from Kantar Worldpanel tomorrow are expected to show further growth in its market share here.