With the recent news of Walmart selling its majority stake in Asda, could this mean an end to the extensive range of brilliant Halloween products that came from this fusion of US/UK businesses?
In April this year, news of Sainsbury’s purchase of a majority of Asda – which was wholly owned by Walmart – was met with mixed reactions. Some saw it as a positive move, particularly in terms of helping Sainsbury’s compete with Tescos. But analysts were concerned about competition issues, and a small number of Halloween lovers were worried about something else – ‘if Asda weakens its ties with Walmart, will they care so much about Halloween anymore?!’
The growth of Asda’s reputation as a Halloween retailer has had a lot to do with Walmart. By being attached to the US supermarket giant, Asda has a reliable pipeline to products that might not be readily available to other retailers.
Many of our readers have commented in the past that products we have seen on Asda shelves were previously available at Walmart stores. And Asda’s enthusiasm for Halloween generally is far more in line with a US mentality than a typical UK one (although the British do seem to be more receptive in recent years). Would weakening ties with Walmart make Asda less enthusiatic about Halloween? Lets face it, Sainsbury’s is hardly a leader when it comes to Halloween goods.
As part of this connection to Walmart, each year the PR team at Asda take a trip over to the US to scope out Halloween products for the following year. This gives them the opportunity to keep their fingers on the US Halloween pulse and deliver great products to the UK (albeit a year after the US). Again, this was something that could have been in jeopardy with the takeover.
So, knowing how much Asda means to our readers, we got in touch with Asda to find out whether our fears were warranted. We were keen to know whether Asda would still retain its connections to the US, be inspired by US products and find out if Asda’s Halloween stock will eventually mirror that of Sainsbury’s. Thankfully, the response was short, simple and reassuring:
“As Walmart will remain to have a 42% share in the business, there are no plans to change the inspiration process. As you know, Halloween only continues to get bigger and better every year so we are constantly looking at ways to grow and expand the range.
“If the proposed merger goes through, then then we’ll continue to operate as two separate businesses so the ranges won’t be affected.”
So it’s good news for Asda fans for now. Indeed the range that appears in stores this year shouldn’t be that affected anyway as their research/product selection would have taken place before the merger was announced.
Walmart’s influence looks to be a long-term which should be a good thing, particularly as Halloween grows in popularity over here.
Now we can focus fully on the Asda Halloween 2018 range, which we hope to preview very soon!