Asda clashes with Waitrose in price battle over new ‘Just Essentials’ value range

Asda's Just Essentials range has sparked ire at Waitrose, which has threatened legal action
Asda's Just Essentials range has sparked ire at Waitrose, which has threatened legal action
// Asda is launching a new Just Essentials value range as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite
// The new range offers 50% more choice than Asda’s current value range – Smart Price – which it will eventually replace

Asda and Waitrose are in the midst of a legal row over the Big Four grocer’s new ‘Just Essentials’ budget range which is similar to its Essential Waitrose label.

Waitrose lawyers have written to Asda raising trademark concerns over the new budget range, which Asda plans to roll out to stores and online next month.

Waitrose claims to have trademarked the ‘essentials’ name, which it uses for its 1,000 product strong value range, and said it was ‘surprised’ to hear Asda plans to use the name.


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A spokesman from Waitrose owner, the John Lewis Partnership said: “As we’ve also protected the name as a trade mark, we have raised this with Asda and are awaiting a response.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “The word ‘essentials’ is a generic and commonly used term by retailers to describe their value product ranges.”

The legal row emerged as Asda reported sales of £20.4 billion in 2021, 0.6% higher than 2020.

Its profits jumped by 42% last year to £693.1 million, in its first year under the Issa brothers’ ownership, as it managed to reduce its Covid costs.

The Just Essentials range includes 300 products, covering household essentials such as toilet roll and shampoo as well as fresh meat, fish and poultry, frozen items and cupboard staples, and will launch from May.

It will eventually replace its existing Smart Price budget range.

Asda said the range of products is ‘the biggest in the market’ and strengthens its position as the cheapest of the UK’s four biggest grocers.

Mohsin Issa said he hoped its new cut-price range would help Asda overtake Sainsbury’s to reclaim its position as the UK’s second-biggest supermarket, behind much bigger rival Tesco.

“We understand that customers are increasingly worried about the cost of living and want help to keep their grocery bills in check, while still being able to buy healthy and nutritious food for their families,” he said.

“Our new ‘Just Essentials’ range has been specifically designed with this in mind, combining our lowest prices with a much larger and more diverse range of great value products to meet all household needs.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. No case to answer – you can’t trade mark a word in the ‘English dictionary’ unless I’m very mistaken…. Opinions?

  2. It is possible to register a word in a dictionary. For example, “mulberry”.
    In respect of the spat between Waitrose and Asda, a registered trade mark is not essential for a business but it can certainly help.

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