In a downturn you use own-label in the loo

The paper category has been hit hard by the economic downturn.

Toilet tissue grew just 1.9% this year, compared with 7.4% in 2007 and volume was actually down 1.2%, which as Troy Warfield, managing director of Andrex manufacturer Kimberly-Clark put it, is "kinda unheard of".

Kitchen towels have also seen a reversal of fortunes. The sector's 8.1% growth in 2007 turned into a 0.2% slide in value this year.

Meanwhile, facial tissues and nappies both experienced a slowdown in growth, with uplifts of 2.1% and 2.6% in value comparing unfavourably with 2.8% and 3.6% respectively last year.

There has been a noticeable shift towards own label in the toilet tissue sector, with sales up 9.2%, and similar shifts are predicted in other sectors as families rein in their spending on luxury goods.

Though Kimberly-Clark continues to rule particularly in toilet and facial tissue, Andrex fell 0.3% compared with 2.9% growth last year and nappy brand Huggies fell by 2% in value after recording 7.4% growth last year. To its credit Kleenex was up 3.5% (versus 5.3% last year) and Fiesta grew by 10.8%, to record sales of £8.2m.

Top Launch
In days gone by kids would make do with a scrap of newspaper or a nice big leaf and be grateful. Not today's little treasures, though. They need more delicate treatment. Cue the launch in May of Andrex Kids Moist toilet tissue, Kimberly-Clark's answer to the success of P&G's Kandoo. Not only is this Andrex toilet tissue soft and moist, it is also watermelon scented and comes embossed with puppies. Kids - they don't know they're born these days.

View The Grocer's definitive Top Products 2008 survey