P&G Puts Off Promotional Displays for Tide Pods

Analysts Say Supply Constraints Will Benefit Laundry-Detergent Rivals

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Procter & Gamble Co.'s much-anticipated Tide Pods liquid-detergent tablets face another supply constraint, with P&G planning to ship only enough product to hit retail shelves by Feb. 21 and pushing back shipping of products and special displays for off-shelf promotion until the second half of the year.

A research note by Deutsche Bank said that competing products expected to come from such marketers as Church & Dwight Co. and Henkel, marketer of Purex, could gain market share at Tide's expense. Deutsche noted that single-dose laundry capsules make up roughly 30% of the U.K. laundry market but that reception in the U.S. remains in question.

"For P&G investors, this represents another frustrating misstep," said Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz in the research note, adding that had it stuck to the original timeline of September for launching Pods, P&G would have likely had a six-month jump on competitors.

After announcing that it would launch Tide Pods last April and billing it as the biggest laundry innovation in a generation, P&G said in May that it would delay the introduction until early this year because retailer demand outstripped its capacity. P&G spokespeople didn't immediately return an email or calls for comment on the new constraints.

Another analyst, Sanford C. Bernstein's Ali Dibadj, said P&G told him that it began informing retailers about the restrictions on shipping of promotional merchandise on Jan. 6.

Laundry isn't the only category P&G has had supply problems with in recent years. Fusion Pro Glide razors, launched in 2010, are among the major examples, Mr. Schmitz said in his note.

P&G is expected to put $150 million behind the launch, led by Publicis Groupe 's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, for the key launch by its flagship brand.

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