Proctor & Gamble has announced that it is discontinuing
all sales of Max Factor cosmetics in the United States, although it will continue to sell the brand in the rest of the world. The move comes after a last-ditch effort to save the brand in the U.S. with extensive advertising. The brand will continue to be sold in 70 countries around the world, where it sells much better than it does in the U.S. In the U.S., CoverGirl is P&G's star performer.
The 100-year-old brand with a long tradition as the makeup of Hollywood makeup artists has been worn by the likes of Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe. But it was discontinued from most stores three years ago, and many analysts didn't expect it to last as long as it has after that major distribution loss.
The move comes as Walmart has been reducing assortments in a number of categories as it aims to streamline its product offerings, though it's unclear if a decision by the giant retailer was the coup de grace for Max Factor.
The move comes as a blow to P&G, which also discontinued the Clarion and Olay cosmetics brands the past two decades. Yet it comes as P&G's remaining U.S. brand, CoverGirl, has been leading P&G cosmetics to possibly its strongest showing ever.
CoverGirl has been gaining extensive share on its once implacable rival L'Oreal for more than a year, making inroads in Maybelline's once dominant position in eye makeup and more recently accelerating growth in foundation and lipstick.
The product will stop being sold during the first quarter of 2010, although retailers may close out existing supplies after that date.