By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Procter & Gamble Co. on Monday started shipping a new line of janitorial cleaning products.
The company, known around the world for brands such as Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste, hopes the new P&G Pro Line will help double sales at its Commercial Products Group to $1 billion during the next five years.
The target customers are distributors and janitorial companies, in contrast to home-based products that make up the bulk of P&G's global business.
Until now, P&G has only offered commercial versions of its home brands, such as Spic and Span and Mr. Clean. With the release of the new Pro Line, it offers about two dozen new products with new capabilities, Commercial Products Group general manager Norb Mayrhofer said.
"It's a good fit for us," he said. "It's a pretty fertile market, and it's consistent with our skills and capabilities."
The North American contractor market for commercial cleaning is about $1 billion and growing, with P&G at less than $20 million, Mayrhofer said. It hopes to double that in the first year.
The company's global commercial business, which includes products including coffee and laundry, totals about $500 million, he said.
P&G is working to build a distributor network for the new line and make a splash in a fragmented national market. With the new line, the company can provide a portfolio of products to clean an entire building with one purchase.
Throughout its sprawling global operations, P&G is getting into the professional arena more, looking for growth markets and expertise in specific areas. In another example, its pending acquisition of German hair-care giant Wella AG will give it a stronghold in beauty salons, complementing a consumer business that includes Pantene and Clairol.
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