K-C plans to raise cost of Kleenex after shelving Andrex price hike

Kimberly-Clark (K-C) is set to increase the cost of Kleenex facial tissues by almost six per cent next month, even though it was forced to back down on its recent Andrex toilet tissue price hike.

K-C shelved plans to raise the price of Andrex by seven per cent, when own-label brands refused to follow suit (MW October 3). The Andrex price increase, which was set to happen in November, is now unlikely to take place until early next year.

The Kleenex rise, meanwhile, is expected to go ahead in mid-November. Industry sources say that the price increase will vary between five and six per cent. Later in the year, K-C is also expected to increase the price of its Fiesta kitchen towel range.

One industry insider says: “There has been no real price increase in the tissue market for five years. The likes of K-C and Procter & Gamble (P&G) need to hike tissue prices in order for the smaller players to follow suit.”

A spokeswoman for K-C says the company refuses to comment on “industry speculation”.

According to Mintel, Kleenex is the leading brand in the facial tissue sector, with a 47.8 per cent share of the market by value in 2001.

Kleenex is followed by P&G’s Tempo, which was launched in 1999. Tempo lags far behind, however, with a market share of only 3.8 per cent in 2001.

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