P&G CUTS PRICES ON SCOPE, METAMUCIL

CINCINNATI -- For the second time in just over a year, Procter & Gamble here is lowering its prices on Metamucil fiber laxative and Scope mouthwash, which was good news to many supermarket retailers.The manufacturer said the price reductions, an average of 20% for Metamucil and 16% for Scope, will take effect on June 13, but have "been planned for some time." P&G lowered prices on the two brands "about

CINCINNATI -- For the second time in just over a year, Procter & Gamble here is lowering its prices on Metamucil fiber laxative and Scope mouthwash, which was good news to many supermarket retailers.

The manufacturer said the price reductions, an average of 20% for Metamucil and 16% for Scope, will take effect on June 13, but have "been planned for some time." P&G lowered prices on the two brands "about a year ago" as part of the company's "value pricing" program, said spokesman Jim Schwartz. The latest move is "a further price reduction," he said.

Supermarket health and beauty care departments seemed pleased with P&G's move. "I think it's a good idea. It will help move the products," said Diane Meyer, HBC Buyer for Northwest Supermarkets' four stores in Sauk Centre, Minn. According to recent sales figures from Towne-Oller & Associates, Scope and Metamucil are in need of a sales boost. Scope, while still commanding a 21.6% share of the mouthwash category in food stores, plunged 20% for the 12 months ending March 1994 with $71.7 million in sales.

Sales of Metamucil were down 2% in food stores for the same period as well, although the product controls 21.2% of the laxative category with $44.5 million in sales.

P&G contends it expects no negative impact on profits because the company has managed "significant cost savings from improved systems efficiencies, primarily in manufacturing."

Laurie Platter, HBC Buyer for Fareway Stores, a 59-store chain in Boone, Iowa, said her store will "definitely pass all our savings [on Metamucil and Scope] to our customers. It should boost product sales for those two brands."

"Any price reduction is a good thing," concurred Meyer of Northwest.

"It'll, help the everyday sales but it might make advertising more difficult," said Dave Lynam, HBC director for the 35 stores of Harding's Friendly Markets in Plainwell, Mich., who added he was not surprised to see the price reductions in the wake of P&G's similar moves with other top brands.