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Kaufland escalates dispute with Unilever

Kaufland

Kaufland’s differences with Unilever have escalated, with the Schwarz Group-owned banner announcing plans to stop stocking several of the manufacturer’s products over pricing issues.

In 2018, Kaufland eliminated around 480 Unilever products from its shelves after failing to reach an agreement over proposed price hikes by the latter. The chain last week announced plans to delist several Unilever brands entirely as of 31 December 2018.

In a statement, Kaufland said its decision was prompted by “drastic price increases as well as unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of Unilever. As one of the world’s leading branded goods manufacturers, Unilever seeks, from Kaufland’s point of view, to use its outstanding market position to influence the retailer and further optimise its own revenues.”

The chain added that “despite all efforts no agreement could be reached with Unilever. The dealer is interested in a fair cooperation with Unilever and has shown many solutions in the past few months. These were rejected by Unilever.”

The move has seen Kaufland withdraw brands such as Knorr, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, Mondamin, Pfanni, Bertolli, Unox, Lipton, Langnese, Coral, Viss, Domestos, Dove, Rexona, Duschdas, Signal and Ax from its stores in Germany, with several of those brands no longer available at its outlets in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. However, the retailer said selected ice cream products from Magnum, Cremissimo and Viennetta “are still available”.

Kaufland also claimed that it has been “able to adjust to the situation. Due to the large selection of up to 60,000 articles, many brands and own brands are available to customers as alternatives. An analysis of the market data has also revealed that Unilever products are highly interchangeable and that customers have already adjusted to it.” (www.kamcity.com)

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