ASDA – Made In Yorkshire | Volume 1

What is ASDA?

ASDA is one of the leading British supermarkets headquartered in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Not only does ASDA sell food, over time they have branched out into other sectors. ASDA Living sells general merchandise such as toasters and kettles whilst George – their clothing brand – sells clothes.

The Beginning

The origins of this well known supermarket dates back to the end of the nineteenth century when pasteurisation was first introduced. In the Skipton area, there were many dairy farmers. Each of them teamed up to create a milk factory in the 1900’s. This created 500 gallons of milk every day. 

A man named Arthur Stockdale owned a milk wholesaling business in Grassington. In the 1920’s, him along with other farmers formed Hindell’s Dairy Farmers Ltd and The Craven Dairies Ltd. These were the first to supply sterilised milk within the Leeds area.

In 1949, Hindell’s became Associated Dairies and Farm Stores Ltd along with many other dairies, bakers and butchers. Stockdale was the managing director.

Then, in the 1950’s, they gained other companies which led them to develop into most of Yorkshire and the North East. The company dropped Farm Stores from their name in 1963 to become Associated Dairies Ltd.

While Associated Dairies expanded in the 1950’s, a group called the American GEN group was experimenting. Their idea of filling large stores with smaller stores failed.

However, in the 1960’s, two brothers from a Pontefract butchers, called Peter and Fred Asquith, were prosperous in establishing a small chain of self service supermarkets. They created their first supermarket in the Queen’s Theatre in Castleford.

A newspaper advert from 1963 promised ‘permanent reductions’ for one of their new Queen’s Supermarkets. These reductions meant overlooking the resale price which allowed manufacturers to fix their own retail price, taking advantage of its abolition in 1964. 

They also offered late night openings on Fridays, staying open until 8pm.

Although the Asquith brother were successful, they needed financial backing to expand. To do this, Peter Asquith met with Arthur’s Son, Noel Stockdale, and Eric Binns, vice president and managing director of Associated Dairies.

The Asquith brothers sold their stores to Associated Dairies on the 3rd May, 1965. They then became joint managing directors.

ASDA was created. ‘AS’ from Asquith, and ‘DA’, from Dairies. However, there are rumours that the ‘AS’ was from Associated.

Becoming what it is Today

Later on in the year 1965, ASDA bought the GEM chain stores. These were then re-branded as ASDA Queen. In September of the same year, they opened the first new stores in South Elmsall.

In 1968, they bought out the Asquith brothers.

Throughout the 1970’s, ASDA expanded into other business areas – estate agents and car sales. However, these ended quickly. Also during the 1970’s, their first of the famous ‘pocket tap’ advertisements were aired in 1977.

On the 19th October 1987, the company fell foul of the Black Monday stock market crash. The organisation bought retailers such as MFI and Allied Carpets and then sold them, changing the name to ASDA Group Ltd.

The business sold their dairy subsidiaries. This meant any connections with the companies which formed its name were no longer.

Because of this, ASDA expanded by buying roughly 90 of its rival Gateway stores.  Another breakthrough for the business came from a partnership with George Davis. This led to George clothing introduced in 1989.

The new chief executive Archie Norman brought a new vision and progress to the company in 1990’s. This was done by modelling the stores in the same style as Walmart – the world’s leading retail company.

It was so successful that ASDA purchased Walmart in 1999.

During the 2000’s. ASDA became one of the ‘big four’ supermarket chains. The new headquarters is now located on the riverside in Leeds, West Yorkshire. ASDA also bought chains such as Safeway and Netto.

In the past 16 years, ASDA has won the Grocer Magazine’s ‘lowest priced supermarket’ award.