SCA is making its debut in branded boxed facial tissues this week with the launch of Velvet Performance ­ a move which could presage a price free-for- all in the category. The 2ply tissues will appear first in mansize and regular size ­ which together account for around 80% of the market (rsp £1.35-£1.45). Cosmetic boxes and other formats are planned for next year. Group product manager Lesley Cordial said the move was a "natural step" for SCA. She added that the company aimed to combine the Velvet brand's associations of softness with a value proposition ­ both key factors involved in consumer choice. The blue and green packaging is designed for display in the home ­ a factor which may increase its appeal to women, the primary facial tissue purchasers. Competition in facial tissues is hotting up and it is the sector of the household paper products market that has most room for growth. Its penetration level is around 66%, compared to 98% in toilet tissue and around 80% in kitchen roll. Kimberly-Clark's Kleenex is the leading brand and Procter & Gamble's Tempo ­ backed by £10m when it was launched in October 1999 ­ the newest arrival. P&G claims a 5.4% value share. Fort James, producer of Nouvelle and Dixcel toilet tissue brands and Kittensoft kitchen towels, postponed a launch due in November 1999, but is to reschedule the launch this year. SCA's portfolio includes the Double and Quilted Velvet toilet tissues, Wipe and Clean kitchen roll, and Handy Andies pocket tissues ­ all under the Velvet umbrella. Around 60% of its products are own label. SCA has invested £14m in the Velvet brand this year including TV advertising for the toilet tissue. Specific support for Velvet Performance will involve a sampling campaign through consumer press and instore promotions. {{P&P }}