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ITC' plans to relaunch Vivel as a skin nourishment brand, adds facewash to lineup

KOLKATA: Consumer goods-to-hotels conglomerate ITC is relaunching its largest personal care brand Vivel in just five years of its birth, which will involve repositioning it as a skin nourishment brand, overhaul of packaging and launching a new range of products. 

"The idea is to modernise Vivel, make it contemporary and relevant, which will accelerate sales," Sandeep Kaul, chief executive (personal care products business) at ITC, said. "It's better to relaunch it earlier than be forced to do so when sales fall," he added. 

As part of the move, ITC will reposition the 500-crore brand from skin softening to skin nourishment. 

Kaul said there has been an evident shift in consumers' attitudes towards their personal grooming and they look to derive multiple benefits from soap. 

ITC will also augment the Vivel portfolio with four new variants to emphasise its nourishment positioning. The company will use a new manufacturing technology, which will enable two ingredients merged into one soap. 

As per trade and analyst estimates, ITC has some 6% share of the highly competitive soap market in India led by Vivel, and is already giving competition to big players 
Hindustan UnileverBSE -1.99 % and Godrej ConsumerBSE 2.24 % Products. Analysts say Vivel is not far away from profitability, even as ITC expects its 7,000 crore non-cigarette FMCG business will breakeven this fiscal. Of the non-cigarette FMCG business, ITC's packaged food business is already profitable. 

Refusing to share financial details, ITC's Kaul said Vivel is gaining market share. "In fact, Vivel is well ahead of its well-entrenched competitors in some markets," he said. Analysts say ITC's move to reposition Vivel at such a short span is aimed at bridging the gap faster between the mass-end where it operates with the Superia brand and premium-end where Fiama Di Wills is positioned. 

Sharekhan research analyst Kaustubh Pawaskar says Vivel's repositioning will help consumers who want to upgrade from mass to a superior product, before eventually moving to the premium segment. "The relaunch will drive premiumisation for ITC's personal care business,"' he said. 

ITC has already expanded the Vivel portfolio beyond soaps into the 7,000-crore skin-care market. It has extended the brand into face moisturizer, body lotion and hand cream under the Vivel Cell Renew brand. It is also expanding Vivel into face wash, lip balm and shampoo.