BEAUTY CARE

FDA issues letter to Procter & Gamble regarding manufacturing plant conditions

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration late last month issued a warning letter to Procter & Gamble regarding unsanitary conditions at a plant in Puerto Rico that manufacturers Sinex Long Acting Nasal Spray and Vicks Early Defense Hand Sanitizer as well as several Olay hair care and skin care products.

The warning letter suggested that problems at the plant may have caused contamination or threatened the health of consumers and faulted failures in following procedures for cleaning maintenance equipment.

P&G said none of the issues raised by the FDA compromised the safety of any products, according to an AP report. Paul Fox, P&G spokesman, told the news service that FDA inspectors did identify areas “here we can and will make improvements,” and the company has begun a review of the plant’s manufacturing practices.

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Energizer Personal Care donates antibacterial wipes to swine flu-infected communities

BY Antoinette Alexander

SHELTON, Conn. Energizer Personal Care has announced that it will donate 500,000 packages of Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes to schools in communities hardest hit by the swine flu, as well as offer coupons for the wipes online.

Wet Ones, which is a trademark of Energizer’s Playtex Products, can help keep hands clean when on the go as they promise to kill 99.99% of germs and clean hands by removing dirt and grime. According to the company, hand sanitizer gels just kill germs.

“While frequent washing hands with soap and water are always recommended, the reality of busy lives is that there are times when you just can’t get to a sink,” stated Charles Slife, VP research and development at Energizer Personal Care. “A product like Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes that can help keep hands clean and germ-free will help parents and kids alike stay healthy when soap and water are not available.”

In addition to donating packages of wipes, Energizer Personal Care will also make $1 off coupons for Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes available online at www.wetones.com. The site will also include tips on how people can stay healthy.

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P&G’s beauty segment experiences decline in Q3, sees strength in some premium offerings

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble’s beauty segment experienced a decline during the third quarter due in part to the current economic conditions and retailer destocking; however, its Olay Pro-X skin care line and Nice ‘n Easy Perfect 10 hair color proved to be bright spots.

 Net sales in beauty declined 9% during the quarter to $4.3 billion. Organic sales were in line with prior year as the benefits from higher pricing were largely offset by a 5% decline in shipment volume.

“There are a couple key factors driving these results. First, there are elements of this segment that are more discretionary compared to the balance of our portfolio,” stated Teri List, treasurer for P&G, told analysts during Thursday’s conference call. “The global economic slowdown causes significant market contraction in the prestige fragrance category. While we continue to build share in prestige, shipments were down more than 20% due mainly to significant market contraction and trade inventory de-stocking.”

In the United States, retail hair care value share was up about half a point, while value shares for Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Aussie remained essentially inline with the prior year. In U.S. hair color, the premium price Perfect 10 initiative behind Nice ‘n Easy helped offset declines in minor hair care brands and drove value share up nearly two share points, List said.

In skin care, the launch of its premium-priced Olay Pro-X line, which retails for about $40 to $50 per item, helped fuel Olay’s value share in the United States. The Olay all outlet value share facial moisturizers in the United States increased by a half a point during the quarter to more than 43%. Olay Pro-X achieved about 5% value share after only three months in the market.

Meanwhile, in U.S. color cosmetics, its CoverGirl brand built all outlet value share on both the unit and value basis. However, CoverGirl shipments were down high single digits during the quarter due to sharp retailer de-stocking.

“To summarize beauty, we continue to be pleased with the fundamental health of our beauty brands and their grown prospects over time. We do expect some continued pressure from retailer and distributor de-stocking,” List said. “It’s also likely that the markets for prestige fragrances will remain soft given its discretionary nature.”

During the call, A.G. Lafley, chairman and CEO, also fielded questions from analysts about a recent Wall Street Journal article discussing the restructuring of P&G’s beauty and grooming business and its plan to place a greater emphasis on men.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile. We think it’s the next logical phase in how you organize a beauty and personal business for even more success,” said Lafley. “Here’s the simple way to think about it: We’re going to organize more by consumer and customer or channel than by product category. It?s the first one of our major sectors that we?re going to do this with.”

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