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Wal-Mart's UK Chain Boosts Online Operations

According to Reuters, Wal-Mart's British supermarket chain 'Asda' is boosting online operations to rival those of Tesco and J. Sainsbury, with nearly 80 percent national coverage by October 2007.

A spokeswoman said on Sunday that by next October Asda hoped to have the service in 157 stores out of its total of 310, giving online access to 100 percent of the group's customers and 75 to 80 percent of British shoppers.

"That's in line with Tesco and Sainsbury," she added. About only half of Asda's customers currently have access to online shopping, via 91 stores.

The move will create about 1,800 jobs for drivers, back office staff and "pickers" who collect the produce from shelves. The home shopping service will offer all Asda merchandise except for DVDs, CDs and computer games, which are currently delivered by the postal service.

As previously reported, Tesco has plans to bring its innovative multichannel retail sales model to the U.S. market, and directly challenge Wal-Mart on its home turf.

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