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Facing Patanjali's challenge, HUL to launch Citra skincare brand in India

Sheetal Agarwal / Mumbai 18 May 17 | 08:50 AM

Strong and continued growth in the herbals & naturals segment has accelerated the pace of new launches by leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. Continuing the trend, the country’s largest consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever (HUL) on Thursday announced that it was bringing its skincare brand Citra to India.

In a post-results interaction with analysts on Wednesday, the management said it was looking to ramp up its specialist brands in the herbal space and Citra would join Indulekha, the specialist haircare Ayurvedic brand from the company.

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"We are planning to get more specialist brands such as Citra in India soon and will also ramp up the Indulekha brand. You will hear more on Citra in the days to come," the HUL management said.

Currently, the Citra brand is available in Indonesia, Thailand and the Middle East, among other countries and regions. The brand houses a bouquet of products, including hand and body lotions, body scrubs, facial wash and facial moisturisers.

Citra targets women consumers aged between 15 to 35 years. Recently, HUL’s parent, Unilever, opened Aktivasi Rumah Cantik Citra in Indonesia as a spa house where customers can experience all Citra products.

"In our view, Citra will further strengthen HUL’s dominance in skin care and also ward off competition from herbal players like Patanjali, Dabur and Himalaya," Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president, research, institutional equities, Edelweiss said.

HUL has already launched Lever Ayush in South India in a bid to step up its presence in the naturals space.

"We are very pleased with the performance of Lever Ayush since its launch in five southern states. It has met our launch objectives and we will roll it out quickly in the rest of the country," the HUL management said.

Lever Ayush offers a basket of products, including soaps, toothpastes, conditioners, facewash, among others.

The naturals & herbal segment, according to HUL, now forms about a quarter of the toothpastes market and the firm hopes Lever Ayush brands will help turnaround its oral care portfolio. Notably, industry leader Colgate has already launched Cibaca Vedshakti in the herbal toothpaste segment and is bracing up for more launches in the future.

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