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Both the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have stories about Procter & Gamble and the return of CEO AG Lafley, who two months ago replaced Robert McDonald, the man who replaced him.

The Journal writes that "Lafley is focused on shoring up sales growth by not giving up ground where the company should be dominant and by addressing long-standing weak spots - things P&G failed to do under the CEO's predecessor. While Mr. McDonald also refocused on the company's core markets in his last year, there is a sense among some P&G employees that decisions are now being made more quickly and that there is a greater emphasis on branding than before ... Lafley appears to be coming out of the gate with a clearer focus on the performance of core products in its biggest markets, including the premium products that were long the company's bread and butter. He is also emphasizing the need to create more game-changing new products and improving the fortunes of high-margin beauty brands."

And FT reports that one of the things that P&G is focusing on is men's grooming products - especially "manscaping" items that have become more fashionable in the past few years, though they have not necessarily been using products manufacturer by P&G-owned Gillette.

"According to P&G research," the story says, "about 29 per cent of American men already shave below the neck while 49 per cent of British men do. In France the figure is 33 per cent and in Germany it is 56 per cent." And so the company is marketing against that trend, but also is having to adjust its traditional strategy of getting men to trade up to more expensive and sophisticated grooming products, since data suggests that many men put a ceiling on how much they will spend.
KC's View:
Really? Twenty-nine percent of American men shave "below the neck"? Sometimes, there are stories that make me feel so old...