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A focus on value and keen pricing… it’s this week’s Licensing Lookout

Start Licensing’s Ian Downes takes a look at how Poundland and Asda have incorporated licensing into their current offerings.

This week I spent some time in a couple of retailers which focus on value and keen pricing – Poundland and Asda.

Given the current conversations around the cost of living, I was particularly interested to see how licensing featured in these retailers at the moment. It would be easy to imagine licensing and licensed products being squeezed out from these stores as the retailers look to maintain their value propositions, but I saw enough to suggest licensing is still playing a vital role for both retailers.


Within the personal care department, Poundland had a range of 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner products featuring The Powerpuff Girls and Batman, while it was also selling Carex’s Love Hearts Bath and Shower Gel product which has been in the market for some time.

Poundland moved away from a single price point proposition some time ago. This was in part to allow it to explore more product categories including apparel and footwear. Most Poundland stores have created a dedicated space for clothing and accessories. A good example of this in-store at the moment were children’s sliders featuring Mickey Mouse and Spider-Man – these are priced at £6 a pair. It was also interesting to see how licensing was being used by Poundland in categories like kitchen towels with a Disney Mickey Mouse product on sale.

My observation is that Poundland seems to offer a licensed option in lots of categories, but often only a single option in each category. In the context of Poundland I think it sees licences in the same way it sees well known FMCG brands: as eyecatchers – the thinking being that they are names that consumers recognise and trust.

Suppliers to Poundland may find it tough at times to hit the price points that are needed, but this concern is I am sure offset by the volumes that Poundland can shift. It is a trade off for suppliers.


It is also a retailer where brands can get a foothold especially in categories that are competitive and often dominated by well established brand leaders which proactively protect their brand position.

With this thought in mind it was interesting to see licensing featuring in Poundland’s food and drink offer with one notable example being Furocity – Tyson Fury’s energy drink. This was featured in two sites in-store and again it would seem to be a product that Poundland is supporting in volume. Poundland provides an opportunity to build a market presence and momentum. Tango, Vimto and Jelly Belly were also featured in-store as part of a range of ‘freeze at home’ ice pops. This is a good example of how licensing has helped create innovation in a product category.

Poundland also had a greeting cards fixture which included a handful of licensed options including Disney designs. It is good to see Poundland supporting this category and that licensing features in it albeit at a relatively low level.


Within Asda it was interesting to see how it is working with Claire’s Accessories – there was a branded aisle for Claire’s.

I also noticed that it had a Leon branded coffee station. It also had a Krispy Kreme branded display unit selling doughnuts including a Limited Edition Reese’s Peanut Butter doughnut. It was worth noting how retailers are collaborating like this these days. It is probably a trend that will continue to grow as retailers seek new ways of reaching consumers and the ‘high street’ is remodelled.

This style of partnership allows Asda to tap up brands and products that it feels hold an appeal to its customers, but also are a quick way of activating NPD in categories that can sometimes be tricky to navigate or to compete in just on price.


Another interesting feature at Asda was its support for brands such as Billie by Billie Faiers. The clothing range was given a lot of well curated space in-store and is seemingly a range that Asda is really supporting. Celebrity lead ranges are apparently ones that Asda currently believes in as I saw a Gino D’Acampo Taste of Italy food range in-store. It was a chilled range presented in branded chillers. It was well presented and very clearly communicated in-store. Working with celebrities gives Asda an interesting marketing story and a novel way of engaging with consumers.

Other licensed ranges that I saw in store included Wagamama mayonnaise, Spider-Man cereal and Barbie Proper popcorn. In each case the products were presented in FSDUs or end caps making them ‘feature’ items.

Asda was using brands well to make the shopping experience an interesting one and one with some variety. A commitment to value pricing is obviously a key message and strategy for it, but Asda has managed to blend this with a branded experience through licensing and partnerships with retailers like Claire’s. The store I visited was in an inner city location and was very busy, but it was well presented with good displays throughout despite the fact it was so busy. I imagine most customers would have had a good shopping experience in-store. It is worth noting that this element of shopping is important – delivering a pleasant shopping experience is of equal importance to delivering value I think.

Both Poundland and Asda have found a way of incorporating licensing into their current offerings and seem to have recognised that licensed brands can help them compete, but also help them enhance the shopping experience.

Ian Downes runs Start Licensing, an independent brand licensing agency. His Twitter handle is @startlicensing – he would welcome your suggestions for what to look out for.

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