Wal-Mart Stores is unleashing its premium private label brand strategy with a vengeance as the nation's No. 1 retailer will roll out a line of glycerine bar soaps and liquid soaps under the Sam's American Choice label by year's end. It will compete against Neutrogena's specialty soaps, sources said.
Should the glycerine soap test prove successful, plans also call for the company to launch a line of bar soaps in the leading deodorant, all-purpose beauty and natural segments next year. The launch will, in effect, put the leading branded marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Dial Corp. on red alert.
P&G leads the natural bar soap. category with Ivory; Lever Bros. leads the all--purpose soap and beauty bar segments with Lever 2000 and Dove; Dial leads the deodorant category with Dial, said Burt P. Flickinger III, a management consultant with A.T. Kearney, a consumer goods consultancy.
"Once Wal-Mart customers switch over to the glycerine soaps, it will give them a chance to test the other bar soaps, which are in the most successful segments of the bar soap category," Flickinger said. The glycerine bar soaps are expected to be priced below Neutrogena, but higher than P&G's oil of Olay bath bar and Dove soaps, for example, sources said.
The move to bar soaps is another major step in Wal-Mart's bold initiative to launch premium private label brands that offer comparable performance in leading categories where the major players compete. The discount store chain is expected to roll out a line of ultra powder and. superconcentrated liquid heavy-duty detergents in the fourth quarter.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)