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Kao and Rivals Shift From Price to Quality Detergents.

* JAPAN: Aiming to secure profits in a sagging detergent market, Kao Corp. and other major household goods manufacturers are trying to shift the competition from low prices to quality. Considered one of the big three household products, laundry detergent is often a leading sale item at supermarkets and drugstores.

Both Kao and Lion Corp. have undertaken across-the-line upgrades of their mainstay detergent products. Kao has revamped its Attack brand for the first time since its 1987 launch at a cost of approximately $48 million. The new product dissolves in about 30 seconds--one-fifth the time of the previous product. Lion has also changed its Top brand. A protein-dissolving enzyme has doubled the detergent's cleaning capacity. To stabilize prices for the new product, Lion will cut shipping prices for Top by 20%, more closely tracking actual store prices.

Procter & Gamble, Far East Inc. has experienced strong sales of its Ariel detergent in gel form since last spring. The firm plans to enlarge the refillable bottle to 850ml and to increase its advertising budget, although its retail sales have been more stable than those of rival products.

According to the Japan Soap and Detergent Association, $1 billion worth of powdered detergents were sold in 2000, an 11% decrease from the previous year.
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Comment:Kao and Rivals Shift From Price to Quality Detergents.
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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