CHASE & SANBORN: LOWER PRICES GIVE BUZZ TO LONGTIME COFFEE BRAND

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In these times of costly coffee, consumers are perking up to Nestle's value-priced Chase & Sanborn.

According to Nielsen North America, Chase & Sanborn was one of the few coffee brands to increase sales and market share last year. It's proof that a longtime strategy of low prices can work wonders for even the oldest of brands.

Chase & Sanborn's sales were up 10%, for the second year in a row, reaching $53.3 million in 1993. At the same time, market share grew to 2.9% from 2.5%. Bad weather in Brazil-forcing many brands to up their prices-could help it grow even more.

The brand is little-known in some areas, but that hasn't always been the case. In the 1930s and '40s, Chase & Sanborn was a household name, the sponsor of a radio comedy hour. Today, it has a strong base in the South and East but spotty distribution in the Midwest and West.

The brand's current growth spurt comes without the aid of advertising-Nestle hasn't advertised it since the late '80s, relying instead on sales promotion.

Part of its success can be attributed to loyalty: Many older consumers have stood by the brand. But Chase & Sanborn's lower price point is fueling a rebirth among younger consumers.

Nestle isn't planning any heavy marketing push for Chase & Sanborn, but that might not be such a bad thing. If coffee prices continue to soar, Chase & Sanborn will continue selling itself.

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