Persil data was ‘misinterpreted’

While Taylor Nelson AGB appreciates every journalist’s desire to get a good scoop, we don’t appreciate this being done by talking up the ‘facts’ so that they distort the reality of the situation “Lever’s dangerous remedy” MW February 12).

The data issued to Alan Mitchell has been taken completely out of context and distorted to reflect your own impressions and prejudices, not the complex realities of the market.

We are pleased to provide data – where appropriate – to journalists but we also recognise that journalists are not trained researchers and we are, therefore, equally prepared to provide comment and interpretation. In this particular case, and from the information provided, we would have concluded that the Persil share has held up well in the past two years and that Lever, has in fact, widened the market share gap between its position and that of private label over the past six months.

We would like it make it clear, therefore, that we refute the interpretation of our data given in your report.

Judith Passingham

Director, Superpanel Division

Taylor Nelson AGB

London

Alan Mitchell responds: Our news story made a point of recognising Persil’s fightback, pointing out that sales of Persil had increased by 4.4 per cent in the year to August 1997. The figures supplied by Taylor Nelson AGB show Lever’s share in 1975 as 39 per cent, with own label at five per cent.

This compares with 1997 when Lever had a share of 22 per cent and own label had 21 per cent. The figures also show own label’s share up from 16 per cent to 21 per cent in the two years to the end of 1997, with Lever falling one point in the same period.

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