Kimberly Clark pulls Huggies nappy brand

Kimberly Clark is to axe its core Huggies nappy brand in the UK and European market to focus on its strongest markets and growth opportunities elsewhere.

Huggies nappies no longer in the UK.

Sub-brands Pull-Ups, DryNites and Little Swimmer’s brands will remain.

The company will increase its marketing support for the Pull Ups, DryNites and Little Swimmers sub-brands as well as its Kleenex and Andrex brands. It will also introduce a raft of new products.

Tristram Wilkinson, vice president/Managing Director at Kimberly Clark UK, told Marketing Week: “We will increase our strategic brand support for these brands. They are expandable categories and one of the key levers is consumer communications. We will strengthen existing marketing plans but there will also be new activity.”

Wilkinson adds that pulling out of the core nappy market will not damage its brand preference in potty training categories.

Currently £4 in every £10 spent in the baby market is spent on pant-style products and wipes with the remainder spent on traditional nappies. Kimberly Clark wants to grow this to cover half the spend in the childcare category and claims that the segment its Pull Ups, DryNites and Little Swimmers operate in is growing four times faster than the nappy market.

Similarly Kimberly Clark hopes to double the customer base of its Pull Ups brand from one in three mums to two in three.

The brand operates Huggies Club, a loyalty programme for parents in the UK, which has almost 35,000 Facebook fans. The Huggies Club website close in April 2013, when each brand will focus on its own dedicated websites.

Kimberly Clark may also exit or sell off brands in a number of markets as part of its restructure. It says that the business it divests currently make sales of around $500m but “negligible” profit.

It also plans to “streamline” its European organisation to align its structure with the move.

It is not known how this will affect the Kimberly Clark marketing team or marketing activity for the sub-brands.

Kimberly Clark recorded a 3 per cent year on year fall in revenue to $5.2bn during the quarter, but posted a rise in profit to $517m, up from $432m a year ago.

This story was updated at 4:41 to inlcude comments from Tristram Wilkinson, vice president/Managing Director at Kimberly Clark UK.

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