Mars focuses on the big sellers as festive range cut by a third

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Mars has slashed the size of its 2009 Christmas confectionery line-up by nearly a third as it focuses efforts on a more "condensed range of big sellers" and NPD in boxed formats.

The festive range will consist of 13 SKUs this year compared with 20 last year, with a stronger focus on its boxes. Mars' boxed products generated £53.2m in sales last Christmas the lion's share of Mars' £75.2m festive confectionery sales.

Mars' Celebrations and Galaxy Advent Calendars are among the seven SKUs it is ditching, but the Mars bar and Malteser-branded calendars remain part of the line-up. "Sales of Advent calendars across the board fell 4.6% to £500,000 last year so it didn't warrant us having the full range of four this year," said Bep Sandhu, trade relations manager.

The range also includes new lines such as the Maltesers Tree Box (rsp: £3.99), which Mars hopes will emulate the 7.8% value growth Maltesers boxes recorded last Christmas on the previous year. It will be joined by a gift box version of Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses (rsp: £3.99).

Mars is supporting its range with a £3m media spend the same as last year. The Maltesers Tree launch is set to benefit from a re-run of last year's £1m TV ad for the Maltesers brand, and the Celebrations ad will also be repeated, backed by a £2m spend.

Mars said its selection boxes and tube ranges would be 25% smaller than last year and made from 100% recycled board.

Cadbury recently announced a 32% packaging reduction across its selection boxes and Nestlé the removal of plastic packaging from its boxes.

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