Magazine article Marketing

Unilever to Axe Fifth of Brands

Magazine article Marketing

Unilever to Axe Fifth of Brands

Article excerpt

The days of the expansive product portfolio look numbered, following Unilever's announcement this week that it is to scrap one in five of its brands over the next two years.

The range of over 1000 different products -- the largest portfolio in the world -- which generates |pounds~27bn in sales and attracted over |pounds~3bn in advertising spend last year, will be pared back by 20%, in order that the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate can concentrate on its core brands.

News of the impending brands purge coincides with the announcement that 150 jobs are to be axed at the combined Brooke Bond/Van den Bergh outfit to be called Van den Bergh Foods.

Frantic finger pointing followed revelations of the 20% brand reduction.

Observers close to Unilever predict Choicest Blend tea, Blue Band margarine and Denim deodorant to be highest on the hitlist.

"None, but the market leaders can really be safe," said one city analyst. But Unilever refuses to say which brands face the chop.

"They all have similar positioned sister brands that are performing better," said one observer.

"Some of the brands will undoubtedly be sold off, but I expect the majority on the hitlist will merely disappear as Unilever tries to fold production of one brand into another," said another City source. …

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