The supermarket chain said the decision has been made in response to rising concerns about knife crime in the UK, particularly those involving children and young people.
Asda senior vice president Nick Jones said: “We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to support the communities that we serve. Whilst we have already taken steps to restrict the sale of knives to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands, we felt there was more we could be doing to support those looking at how to bring this issue under control.
“We know single knives are the most common knife products to be stolen and that is why we have chosen to remove these items from our stores. This is an issue that means a lot to our customers and to our colleagues, and we are committed to playing our small part in helping to make our communities safer for all.”
In a blog he added: “Reports of knife crime – and tragic deaths resulting from attacks – are becoming a more and more regular part of our daily life. These attacks, particularly those involving young people, have an impact on us all.
“At Asda, we strongly believe in offering customer choice, but we’re also keenly aware of the danger of these items falling into the wrong hands.
“Although supermarket knife sales are not the source of the issue around knife crime, as concerns continue to grow we believe there is a step we can take to support those looking at how to bring this issue under control. That step is the decision to remove all single kitchen knives from sale in all our stores by the end of April.
“Whilst our sales of knives are relatively small, our data shows knife theft is most common in single products and that is why we have chosen to remove these items from our stores. Customers will still be able to purchase larger multipack sets, which will be security tagged for added protection.
“Asda has been an active participant in restricting the sale of knives for a number of years already. We were one of the first retailers to sign up to the Home Office voluntary agreement on a set of principles to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s and to ensure that knives are safely displayed and packaged. However, we felt now was the right time to take it further.”
In 2016, Asda was a founding signatory to the Home Office voluntary agreement on a set of principles to prevent the sale of knives to under 18s and to ensure that knives are safely displayed and packaged.
In response to the Asda’s announcement, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We welcome this move by Asda to restrict access to knives in their stores. It is already illegal to sell knives to under 18s and retailers are playing their part in ensuring they don’t fall into the wrong hands. In addition, our Offensive Weapons Bill will also introduce legislation that will make it harder than ever for young people to purchase knives.”
Asda senior vice president Nick Jones