Cleaning Up with P&G

Matt Jackson is Procter & Gamble UK’s Multi Channel Director, responsible for 25% of their UK business. The channels he heads up are wholesale, convenience, ‘Club,’ as in Costco, distributors, discounters, as in Aldi and Lidl and high street, as in Superdrug and Boot’s. In a wide-ranging conversation with Wholesale Manager at ‘Win In Spring,’ P&G’s 2018 household products briefing, Matt gave some insights into this key FMCG supplier, whose brand portfolio covers not only household and cleaning but a number of top personal care names.

“The UK is P&G’s third biggest global market and the household market is extremely important to us. P&G was founded in the UK, and we have a plethora of important brands, which have been part of people’s lives for generations.”

Speaking at the beginning of February Matt Jackson says 2017 was a year of changing consumer trends in household cleaning: “People are moving to shorter wash cycles at lower temperatures. The way people clean their homes is changing with the move to open plan living. There are different work surfaces, more wood flooring and fewer carpets. Existing homes are being modernised and new ones being built all over the place and consumers have huge cleaning needs.”

P&G’s ShelfHelp programme focuses on convenience stores, helping independent retailers maximise the sales potential of household cleaning and laundry products in their stores up and down the country, but Matt says it also has a positive influence on the wholesalers that supply them. “We don’t believe in churning out SKU’s for news.

ShelfHelp’s spotlight is on making room for the strong sellers. In the first year we got rid of ten percent of our SKU’s and we’re on a three year glide path to take out thirty percent.” P&G don’t currently have a specific initiative in the same vein for wholesalers, Matt says, “but there’s no reason why we couldn’t set one up.”

P&G won’t disclose sales figures for each country but Matt says Europe accounts for 23% of the company’s business. Asked to pick out the top brands in the UK household portfolio, in Matt’s words P&G’s biggest brand “by miles” is Fairy, which includes hand dish cleaning, auto dish cleaning and fabric enhancers and is “number one and growing.” He also points to Ariel, the number one key performing laundry brand and Flash, with its strong heritage.

P&G has brands in every household category – six out of the top nine in laundry and leading brands in air care and surface care. Of the new launches being unveiled this spring, with upgrades to many current products, Matt says the new air care range is particularly innovative.

Given his role as Multi Channel Director, Matt is keenly aware of the changes in the way people shop, from the big shop out of town once a week that prevailed in the 1990s to smaller shopping trips 3.6 times a week now: “The sheer number of shopping trips has exploded, but it’s the basket size that is really important. We need to get people putting more in the basket.”

Online is now a powerful force in consumer shopping generally, but in the household category Matt predicts the discounters and the convenience sector will also grow further. “These are all convenient channels, stealing sales from the major multiples, giving people what they need, quicker, when they’re on the go. From what we’re seeing with ShelfHelp there’s a lot more opportunity from this start point.”