Lever Brothers’ 25m launch of Persil Tablets has been hit by a supply shortage which has left supermarket shelves empty.
The tablet version, intended to rejuvenate the brand following the 1994 Persil Power fiasco, was launched at the beginning of this month.
But Lever has been unable to keep supermarkets supplied with all lines of the brand, which has been supported by a heavyweight advertising campaign through J Walter Thompson.
A spokeswoman for Lever comments: “We are doing everything we can to ensure supplies, including sourcing them from our European factories.”
Some retailers complain that they are not getting supplies of the boxes of 24 tablets; others that they are short of the boxes of 40.
One supermarket source says: “The demand has caught them short. They’re working hard on it, but it won’t be resolved this week.”
Another source says the distribution problem stems from a fault with the boxes containing the tablets, which are coming unstuck because the wrong sort of glue has been used.
“They have had a problem with the boxes – the glue had a fault and they have had to re-glue them.” Lever fiercely denies this.
In 1994, Lever launched the Persil Power brand, but it was found to rot clothes and the company was forced into an embarrassing withdrawal of the product. Persil has struggled to recover market share ever since.