Kimberly-Clark (K-C) is plotting to increase the cost of Andrex toilet tissue by seven per cent, in a move that will trigger price hikes across the tissue market.
Andrex’s price increase is expected to come into effect in November. Industry insiders say that the seven per cent rise has been caused by the recent rise in paper pulp prices.
Last year, K-C reduced the number of sheets in each Andrex roll from 280 to 240 and dropped the price of its twoand four-roll packs by about five per cent (MW August 9, 2001).
This year, the toilet tissue brand was caught up in a price war among retailers. Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s cut the price of Andrex in a move that hit sales of their own-label brands (MW May 16).
One industry insider says: “Andrex enjoys 60 per cent of the brand market share and has to take the lead in increasing its price, following the jump in the price of paper pulp. The others are bound to follow. This will result in pushing up the prices of both toilet and facial tissues.”
Last year, when K-C decided to cut both price and sheet count for Andrex, rival Procter & Gamble’s Charmin Ultra followed. Charmin Ultra reduced from 192 sheets to 180 a roll, becoming the toilet roll brand with the lowest number of sheets per roll in the UK market (MW December 6, 2001).
Andrex marketing manager Victor Geus says: “As a matter of course, K-C does not comment on the pricing of Andrex – or its other brands – which is agreed confidentially with its customers.”