Half-price Charmin gets competitive in Venezuela

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CARACAS--Charmin will be more competitive in Venezuela's toilet paper market now that Procter & Gamble Co. has taken over sales from a third-party distributor. It will cost exactly half of what it sold for before -- a repetition of the Pringles experience, when P&G took over direct commercialization of its snacks here several months ago.

Charmin Brand Manager Claudio Trinches says Venezuela's toilet paper market is the fourth largest in Latin America in unit sales after Chile,Brazil and Mexico, with approximately seven million units sold per year.

Market volume is split between lower quality products (27%), medium quality (60%) and 13% for the premium segment, where Charmin competes. Charmin leads the premium category with its single ply version, selling between $1.44 and $2.00.

Charmin will market a new super premium double ply version priced between $1.92 and $2.40. "As yet we have not projected share objectives," says Mr. Trinches. "Because for us (in Venezuela) this is a completely new category of product."

He adds that P&G will have paper strength demonstrations in supermarkets, grocery stores and cosmetics stores, but as yet has not yet defined its marketing plan or advertising budget.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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