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FMCG companies slash sanitiser, face mask prices by up to 70%

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Saturday issued a notification to cap the retail price of 3-ply masks at Rs 10 per piece, 2-ply masks at Rs 8 a piece and hand sanitisers at not more than Rs 100 per 200 ml, with lower or higher volume packs priced proportionately. The order is effective till June 30.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 08.49 AM IST
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Besides, on-ground GCPL teams are working to replenish stocks across channels in the country.
Kolkata | New Delhi: Leading FMCG companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, ITC, Godrej Consumer Products and Dabur will slash or have already cut prices of hand sanitisers by up to 70% after the government capped the rate of the essential commodity, although most of them said this would mean selling at a loss.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Saturday issued a notification to cap the retail price of 3-ply masks at Rs 10 per piece, 2-ply masks at Rs 8 a piece and hand sanitisers at not more than Rs 100 per 200 ml, with lower or higher volume packs priced proportionately. The order is effective till June 30.

“We have started new production at the government-decided price. This would mean selling below the cost price, but profit and business is secondary right now due to public interest,” said Godrej Consumer Products managing director Vivek Gambhir.

A spokesperson for HUL said despite the adverse impact of a price reduction on the margins of its Lifebuoy brand sanitisers, it would continue to ramp up production in national interest. “HUL will stand in support of the nation during this crisis,” the person said. The firm had already announced a 15% cut in sanitiser prices and will further bring it down.

Reckitt Benckiser, which makes the Dettol brand of sanitisers, said the company would price its products as per the government mandated rates, while ITC said it had already reduced the price of its Savlon brand sanitisers and rushing fresh stocks to the market.

Be that as it may, sanitisers of most of these leading brands continue to be in short supply, which they attributed to a sudden surge in demand of the category which was only Rs 110 crore in size.

Godrej has slashed prices of its 50 ml pack from Rs 75 to Rs 25, while ITC has reduced the 55 ml pack price from ?77 to ?27. Dabur has corrected prices of its sanitiser sold online.

Patanjali Ayurved is expected to roll out its own brand of sanitiers next week, said spokesperson SK Tijarawala. “We believe in responding to consumer needs on a non-profit basis,” he said.

Meanwhile, India’s two largest online marketplaces, Amazon and Flipkart, have also asked sellers to cut prices of sanitisers and masks immediately or face blocks on their listings. However, both items continued to retail at a premium on these ecommerce sites as of Sunday evening.

Spokespersons for Amazon India and Flipkart said they have requested sellers to change prices to comply with the government order. “Taking cognizance of…the Janata Curfew, and the fact that sellers may not have the means to reset the prices on Sunday, we believe sellers may take more time to make these changes,” the Amazon spokesperson said.
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A Flipkart India spokesperson said it had put in place technology solutions to maintain checks and balances to ensure compliance. “Should there be instances where sellers breach these directives, we have provisions in place for de-listing as applicable,” the person said.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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