Supermarket chain Asda is searching for up to eight contractors and two quantity surveyors for a £130m store building programme.

Asda hopes to open seven supermarkets with a capital value of £100m in Northern Ireland by the end of next year to add to its existing network of 13, and expand its non-food brand, Living, on the mainland.

It currently has five non-food outlets, from Thurrock in Essex to Newcastle in the North-east, but wants at least 10 more in place by the end of this year. Each non-food store has a capital value of £2-3m and is about 20,000-30,000 ft2 in size.

Jason Marbeck, head of construction, cost and procurement at Asda, said: "We have opened talks with a handful of contractors and QSs in the past week and hope to have made the appointments by the end of June."

For the Northern Ireland expansion, Asda wants to appoint two or three contractors. Richard Rothery, head of construction procurement, said: "It would be interesting to get some Northern Irish contractors on board, but as long as anyone has got a proven ability to deliver projects in Northern Ireland, that's fine."

The expansion of Living will require the appointment of four or five contractors. They would work on additional stores if the brand, which is still in its pilot phase, proves successful.

Asda already has two QSs working on its main new-build and store expansion programme, but would appoint a third dedicated to the Living programme. It has yet to be decided whether this QS would also take on the Northern Ireland programme.