By James Wells

SYDNEY: Despite announcing it will leave specific non-core small appliance categories yesterday, Braun’s parent company Procter & Gamble has promised new products in its core categories over the next 12 months.

According to Procter & Gamble group business manager, Flavio Palumbo, the Braun business in Australia and New Zealand will continue to focus on its areas of strength.

“The Braun brand in Australia and New Zealand is a still a strong brand and is continuing to grow. One of the key areas we are strong in is male shavers, and we are only major brand to grow in last 12 months. In epilators, X’elle range has helped continue our market leadership in this category and we continue to be the market leader in handblenders.

“In those key areas, where we want to focus the Braun business, not only do we have strength but we also have lots of information pipelines and we will see a lot more new products in the next 12 months.

“Our stronger product offerings will continue to be backed by German engineering excellence delivering retailers innovation and category value.”

The first category to be updated will be the Braun X’elle range of epilators which will receive attention in the lead-up to summer.

This will be followed by new products from Braun for the male shaving market that will be introduced for Father’s Day next year.

“In the next year we will see some very significant innovation in the male hair removal category which will should see in the first half of 2008,” Palumbo said.

In the kitchen appliance category, Braun will continue to invest in the Multiquick handblender range, despite making the decision to leave other small appliance categories including irons, food processors, bench blenders, hand mixers and kettles.

“In handblenders, there will be more focus on communicating and displaying the full functionality. Our product improvements will be helping to drive the top end with the addition of more functionality.”

Palumbo said that although the product range has been reduced, Procter & Gamble has not suffered a reduced headcount and will continue to operate the business as usual.

“We are still continuing with the same team moving forward. There is no expectation for changes in the short term within the sales function.”

“Procter & Gamble is very serious about the Braun business in Australia and New Zealand and we see our partnership with retailers getting stronger by focusing on core areas which have had proven success in the past. Retailers have seen innovation the past and they will continue to in the future.

“We definitely want to grow a lot more within independent electrical retailers and we are looking forward to continuing to build that relationship by working a lot more with them and rewarding them in a way that helps sell the Braun brand.”