Unilever Maneuvers to Launch Retail Shops


Unconfirmed reports suggest Unilever is about to launch branded tea shops in several countries this fall.

London-based Marketing Week reported that “Unilever declined to provide any further details about the concept but is due to launch in selected countries this year ahead of a global roll out from 2013, with full roll out expected by 2017.”

The information was gleaned from a job description to head the operation.

Unilever is seeking to “transform” the global out-of-home tea market and is preparing to launch a “new concept” for cafes serving tea that could see the launch of a chain of branded cafes, according to a job description for a global manager to lead the operation.

Unilever is best known for its Lipton Yellow Label and PG Tips brand in the UK but also owns Lan-Choo and Lyons, a brand of Irish tea. Starbucks and European-based Nespresso, which earned Nestle $3.6 billion last year, have “changed the perception of coffee in terms of value, range and quality” over the past 20 years, according to the notice.

Unilever, a $59 billion British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company that employs 171,000 worldwide, is now in the second year of a five-year strategic plan for working better with retail customers. The company has financed extensive market research in support of its brands.

Unilever’s U.S. offices in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, are buzzing with activity, according to insiders. The firm is expected to greatly expand its Food Services Division to supervise the expansion.  Resources currently are primarily focused on the retail division: “The success of our first Customer Insight and Innovation Centre (CiiC) in New Jersey has led to the establishment of six more state-of-the-art centers in London, Paris, Singapore, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Mumbai,” according to the company. These centers provide the opportunity to work more closely with retailers around the world to trial new strategies for merchandising, displays and packaging without having to run in-store pilots which are costly and time consuming.

Source: Marketing Week