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Unilever Resurrects Plan to Unload Q-Tips and Other Brands

Unilever could reportedly sell off some of its beauty and personal care brands.

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant is working with Morgan Stanley and Evercore to sell a selection of its “non-core” beauty and personal care brands, Q-tips among them, Reuters reported Wednesday (Sept. 20), citing unnamed sources.

The move marks a resurrection of a plan the company abandoned two years ago, as well as the first big undertaking by new CEO Hein Schumacher, who is attempting to streamline Unilever’s business as it deals with inflation, per the report.

Unilever did not immediately respond to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

The brands up for sale fall under the umbrella of Elida Beauty, which includes names like Caress, St. Ives, Pond’s and Brut, the report said. Elida generated around $760 million in revenue last year.

Unilever Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said in July that inflation had reached its peak as the company reported quarterly earnings results that showed sales increasing 9.1%. The company raised prices 9.4% during the first half of 2023, compared to 13.3% in 2022’s last quarter.

“We’re past peak inflation now, but there will continue to be a high level of pricing growth within our reported numbers,” Pitkethly said at the time. “The majority of pricing you’ll see is carry-forward pricing as we roll through the quarters.”

Two months later, inflation hit a milestone as it reached its highest level for the year, placing pressure on consumers as they try to pay for food and rent and keep gas in their cars.

PYMNTS Intelligence showed that middle-income consumers are dealing with this pressure by going with cheaper merchants, with 16% of this demographic saying the switch is the most important change they have made as a result of higher prices.

And while consumers are still spending on nonessential goods, there’s a hierarchy of items on which they splurge. For example, 40.5% of grocery shoppers identified desserts, candy and soda as “nice to have” items, while 18.7% of retail store shoppers said the same about health and beauty products.

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