Unilever to pare brands

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Anglo-Dutch package-goods giant Unilever said today it will cut back its brand portfolio to 400 from 1,600 names over the next three years as part of a plan to concentrate on "powerbrands.'' The company didn't identify the brands it will drop, but executives said Unilever will redirect marketing resources to a smaller portfolio that will include only those brands that are first or second in their market or segment, and will include a number of global brands. In presentations to analysts in London today, Chairmen Niall FitzGerald and Antony Burgmans said Unilever wants to generate sales growth of 6% to 8% among those brands it keeps; in August, Unilever's second-quarter sales grew 3% over the year before. Unilever - parent of brands including Elizabeth Arden, Dove, Lipton and Ragu - will make the same presentation tomorrow in Rotterdam; a third analysts meeting is scheduled in New York on Friday.

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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