Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Comet is next out at P&G

Prrofitable, but no growth

By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Comet, another brand that Procter & Gamble Co. made into a household name, is on the selling block.

        Cincinnati-based P&G said Monday it hired an investment banker to seek bids for the 45-year-old household cleaner.

        Like Biz bleach, Clearasil skin treatment, Crisco shortening and Jif peanut butter, Comet has remained profitable but hasn't grown enough for P&G.

        “We are putting more focus against building big brands that offer the greatest potential for global growth,” said Colleen Jay, vice president and general manager for home care.

        The strategy is part of P&G chief executive A.G. Lafley's plan to cut expenditures on products that cannot increase sales, profits and market share.

        That means P&G will shed many smaller products, such as Fit produce wash.

        But it also means the consumer-products giant will take big and profitable brands, such as Comet, and either sell or trade them.

        P&G sold Biz and Clearasil and said it wants to sell or trade Jif and Crisco. It folded Pringles and Sunny Delight into a joint venture with Coca-Cola Co.

        If P&G doesn't get an adequate offer for Comet, it will keep the brand, it said.

        Comet posted sales of about $68.9 million in the year that ended May 20, according to Information Resources Inc. But dollar sales for the nonabrasive gel and spray product fell 8.1 percent during that year, while dollar sales of the Comet abrasive cleaner fell 6.1 percent.


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