Axing of KitKat Kubes a mystery to retailers

The fate of Nestlé Rowntree’s KitKat Kubes has caused confusion among retailers who claim they are continuing to sell the product, contradicting Nestlé’s claim that it is withdrawing the Kubes.

Retailers say that they have not been told that the product has been axed, and that the product is still available on their shelves. Nestlé however claims otherwise and insists that it pulled the product a year ago.

Nestlé says that the product was withdrawn last April "after a strategic review of the brand and capacity needing to be prioritised in other formats". But retail industry insiders claim that Nestlé has not "officially" informed them of the decision.

One insider says: "We have delisted the product but I have never been told by Nestlé that the product has been axed."

Nestlé has hit back at the suggestions, saying that customer communication is a priority for the company.

A spokeswoman for the company says: "The withdrawal of KitKat Kubes from our confectionery portfolio was communicated to all trade customers in early 2005, thought the usual communication channels."

The product, which is the first example of KitKat being extended into bitesize, was launched in 2003 with a £7m advertising campaign.

Sales of Nestlé’s flagship brand have been in decline in recent years despite marketing investment and a range of product extensions including premium range KitKat Editions (MW June 17, 2004).

Insiders say that sales of KitKat Kubes were strong following the launch, and that they accounted for a 10% increase in sales in the last quarter of 2003.

But insiders say that they number of brand extensions and flavour variants that were launched under the KitKat brand had a negative effect on the product.

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