U.K.'s Safeway "Vecta" brand challenges P&G, Unilever

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LONDON -- Safeway is to launch an own-label range of 40 household cleaning products in the first attempt by any U.K. supermarket to challenge the might of Procter & Gamble and Unilever in this $874m sector (Datamonitor).

The Vecta sub-brand will appear on shelves in Safeway's 371 stores on September 15, backed by heavy in-store promotions and above-the-line advertising. The company will not reveal specific details at this stage.

This is the fourth sub-brand Safeway has introduced in the past few years, following on from the Select carbonated drinks, Oracle oral health products and Cyclon detergents and hand, dish washing liquid. Cyclon, which debuted a year ago, is now worth L20m and is the No. 2 detergent brand at Safeway behind P&G's Ariel.

Safeway is banking on Vecta making a big splash in the market; it has deliberately released details of the launch around three weeks earlier than usual, "to help stimulate interest in the products before they go in store," says a spokeswoman.

U.K. supermarkets have used sub-brands to forge their way successfully into categories traditionally untouched by private-label brands over the past four years, such as colas, pet food and detergents. Using the Vecta sub-brand "links the products under a common banner which conveys authority and credibility," says Safeway Category Buying Manager David Price.

Copyright July 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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