business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Procter & Gamble is planning a low-priced Tide that may be called Tide Simple.

According to the story, "A decision to offer a lower-priced version of the premium brand carries the risk that buyers of regular Tide could trade down and stay there. Indeed, three years ago P&G scrapped a lower-priced powdered detergent called Tide Basic, which was tested for about a year. P&G said consumers were having a hard time distinguishing between the bargain version and the regular priced variety. The company's concern was that regular Tide users would trade down to Tide Basic, for instance, but be unhappy that it didn't clean as well as regular Tide."

However, CEO AG Lafley is said to be taking the position that the consumer is in charge, the consumer wants lower-priced detergents, and P&G's job is to satisfy the consumer and to figure out how to make it work.

• Spartan Stores and Nash Finch Company announced that the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) waiting period for the pending merger of the two companies has expired with no action by the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice, which "satisfies one of the conditions necessary for the transaction to close. Spartan Stores and Nash Finch expect that, subject to the remaining regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, including the approval of Spartan Stores and Nash Finch shareholders, the transaction will be completed before the end of calendar 2013."
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