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Unilever Plans to Reduce Product Range by Further 10% in 2014

Unilever (UNA), the world’s second-largest consumer-goods maker, said it plans to narrow its product range by at least another 10 percent by the end of 2014.

The company has already cut 20 percent of its stock-keeping units and wants to reduce the product portfolio by a further 10 percent to 20 percent next year, Chief Supply Chain Officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi said today at an investor conference in London.

Unilever has been reducing its number of brands since the turn of the century when it introduced the Path to Growth program. That sought to cull the number of brands it sold from 1,600 to about 400. The company has sought to focus on its biggest labels, including Dove soap and Magnum ice cream. A brand differs from an SKU in that many different varieties of products can be sold under the same label.

Unilever also plans to cut its marketing headcount by 12 percent, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet also said today.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman said last week that the economic slowdown in emerging markets is here to stay. The company gets more than half its revenue from countries such as India and China and said Sept. 30 that slowing growth in those regions would weigh on second-half sales.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Geneva at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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