Leeds-based supermarket Asda has issued a reassurance that its future lies in the city, following speculation surrounding a potential tie-up with Sainsbury’s.
The big four supermarket, which employs around 2,000 at its head office in Leeds, is seeking to complete a £12bn merger with rival Sainsbury’s.
If the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gives the green light to the deal, it would create the largest grocer in the UK.
A report suggested that if the deal gets the go ahead the Leeds office would be kept open for a year but then could face closure in the future.
However, a spokesman for Asda said: “It’s categorically not the case that there’s any suggestion that Asda House will close after a year.”
The speculation comes off the back of a letter sent by Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, to Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who is the chairwoman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.
In the letter, he wrote that “a very low number of well-paid managerial roles will be duplicated across the group”.
He added that they would aim to manage these through “natural attrition”, not replacing employees when they leave these roles.
In the longer term, Asda’s head office is currently situated on the planned High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) line for 2033.
However, Asda’s spokesman said that the Leeds-based supermarket was committed to the city, whether the merger goes ahead or not. He added that the supermarket was in discussions with the council about staying in the city.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s also said Asda’s head office will remain in Leeds following a merger in a similar vein to how Argos has its own headquarters.