Gillette to launch new blade

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Gillette Co. Chairman-CEO Michael C. Hawley announced the company will introduce an improved blade design in its shaving products this year. Speaking at the company's annual meeting April 20 in Boston, Mr. Hawley said the new system, called Comfort Blade, will reach stores in November in both men's and women's products. The launch will be backed by advertising from BBDO, New York. Comfort Blade, adapted from the Mach3 blade design, is meant to produce a closer, more comfortable shave. Also, Gillette posted encouraging results, including a 5.7% increase in first-quarter sales to $2.05 billion. Profits fell slightly, which company officials blamed on slow battery sales and exchange rates. At the meeting, Mr. Hawley also announced Gillette has increased marketing support for its flagship brands as part of a commitment to support its high-margin businesses. A company spokesman estimated ad spending has increased by about 40% during the first quarter. Gillette spent $164.4 million in U.S. media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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