Smaller independent home entertainment distributors trading with Asda will have to go through Elevation Sales from the second quarter of next year.
Sources said that the move is the result of staff cuts within Asda’s entertainment buying team, which means that the retailer no longer has the capacity to field all the sales calls from its entertainment suppliers. They added that Asda remains a big supporter of the industry.
Elevation, the joint venture sales house owned by Lionsgate UK and StudioCanal, will handle product presentation on behalf of smaller indies, while physical distribution will be handled by Technicolor.
Asda would not comment on the specifics of the deal, which has yet to be finalised, but it told Cue Entertainment: “Our focus is always on providing the right products for our customers at the best possible price and we work closely with our suppliers to ensure we’re able to deliver on this approach. Whilst it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on discussions with our suppliers, we will always take the decision that enables us to best meet our customers’ needs.”
The move comes as physical home entertainment space faces severe pressure in UK grocers. Almost all of the country’s major retailers have cut space in store and some outlets have seen home entertainment presence reduced to a small, single-title FSDU.
Sources told Cue Entertainment that Elevation Sales, whose boss Kevin Dersley is known as a keen advocate of the physical business, is also looking to roll out similar deals with the other supermarkets as soon as the terms of the Asda agreement are settled. As yet no details have emerged about the margin Elevation wants in exchange for handling sales nor how they will select product to present.[/private]