Asda says it has taken the decision in response to 'rising concerns' about knife crime in the UK 'particularly those involving children and young people'.
Commenting on the news, Nick Jones, Senior Vice President, 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 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 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.”