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Asda next in line to test automotive retailing waters

Asda next in line to test automotive retailing waters Asda is considering selling motor finance and insurance through its network of 245 supermarkets. The move is part of a growing trend for supermarkets to broaden their range of financial products as they look to exploit massive customer databases.

Tesco sells motor finance and insurance in a joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland and Sainsbury's has confirmed talks with Esure, the online insurance provider set up by Direct Line founder Peter Wood, to offer insurance. Analysts believe the companies are preparing for a move into car retailing, probably in partnership with dealer groups.

Asda parent Wal-Mart operates a car buying scheme in the US though its Sam's Club initiative. Asda also has experience in the UK car retailing sector through AsdaDrive, a short-lived venture in the late Eighties. It already sells pet and travel insurance and was rumoured to be in negotiations with Churchill Insurance An Asda spokesman confirmed plans to expand the financial portfolio but would not comment on specific areas or likely partners.

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