Asda turns to Bircham to help drive expansion strategy

Supermarket giant Asda has handed Bircham Dyson Bell the mandate for the planning communications strategy for its nationwide store expansion strategy.

The City firm’s public affairs team, which is part of its parliamentary, public law and planning practice, has taken on the work, led by partner and head of public affairs Jonathan Bracken. Bracken has also taken on the role of relationship partner for Asda.

As part of the exercise the team will assist and advise on Asda’s relationships with local communities, as well as political and media audiences.

This is the first time Bircham has acted for Asda, with the retailer generally turning to Slaughter and May for competition law and Walker Morris for planning work.

Matthew Davies, a consultant in Bircham’s public affairs team, said: “Asda’s a new client for us and the first supermarket chain client won by our public affairs team. If this exercise is successful there’s a view to secure more work from Asda.”

Davies said the firm won the mandate on the back of supermarket experience he and fellow consultant Stuart Thompson gained while at DLA Piper, which they left earlier this year.

Asda is focusing on extending its stores in edge-of-town retail parks and also plans to open a further 20 outlets across the UK by June 2008.