Asda’s deal to sell official FIFA merchandise for next year’s World Cup is a marriage made in heaven for the grocer. And one that is likely to have rattled rivals. The partnership shows how lucrative such deals can be for the supermarkets - something they are all trying to cash in on.

Asda scored a coup against its rivals this week with its deal to sell official FIFA merchandise in its stores for the World Cup next year.

Next year’s World Cup will be extremely lucrative for the grocers – and retailers in general – and it will be a welcome respite from the doom and gloom of recession.

Asda’s parent Walmart signed a global deal with FIFA to sell official merchandise, which is likely to mean rivals Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons won’t be allowed to stock them. While Asda’s rivals will undoubtedly create their own versions of World Cup merchandise, they will surely be a bit miffed that Asda has the real thing.

In true Asda style, this weekend it will already start gloating about the deal. To celebrate the 2010 World Cup draw today, Asda is offering special deals in stores including two curries for £4 and two Extra Special pizzas for £3.

The deal not only spells good news for Asda, it also shows how important exclusive partnerships are for the grocers now that they are making major inroads into non-food.

Tesco recently launched its partnership with film studio DreamWorks which has seen it sell an exclusive DVD – Merry Madagascar – in its stores. Next year this deal will escalate as it will launch exclusive DVDs throughout the year, plus all the merchandise that goes with big film releases.

One industry insider said Asda was annoyed when Tesco announced its deal with DreamWorks as in the US, the same film studio has partnered with Asda parent Walmart. Asda has obviously seen what a sales boost such deals can do with its US parent and wanted a piece of the cake. But Tesco – which has been working on boosting its Tesco Entertainment division for some time – got in their first.

Asda soon hit back though with its FIFA partnership and this is likely to have unsettled many in Cheshunt.

It serves to show that while the grocers can’t take their eyes off the food ball, they too need to be on the lookout for partnerships and special offers in the non-food world to drive customers into its stores. Because once they’re in the shops to buy that exclusive DVD or official football merchandise, they will surely do their weekly grocery shop too.