business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Glossy reports on a new Unilever brand of cleaners and soaps called The Right To Shower, consisting of eight SKUs going by names such as Dignity, Hope, Joy and Strength. The kicker - “Unilever is promising that 100% of the brand’s profits in its first year of business will be donated to mobile shower initiatives to serve the homeless population.”

The initiative is in line with Unilever’s stated desire to develop “purpose-led brands” as a growth opportunity.

Federal statistics suggest that more than a half-million Americans are homeless and “don’t have regular access to shower spaces.”

“We consider Unilever as a company of purpose, and we want our brands to be seen with that same purpose,” says Laura Fruitman, co-founder and GM of The Right To Shower. “We knew this issue of homelessness existed, and we wanted to flip the idea of social good by baking it into the brand, rather than start with an issue we wanted to solve.”

Love this.

• The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Procter & Gamble is testing a new brand - called Pepper & Wits - that is designed to appeal to women coping with menopause.

For the moment, the story says, “The brand’s hormone-free products are available only via the Pepper & Wits website. Products include dietary supplements and estrogen-free lotions, including separate moisturizers for the hands and feet, body and vagina … Each capsule contains a blend of three herbal extracts and melatonin, a popular sleep aid, P&G said. The product is vegan and non-GMO.”

The Courier says that P&G “is also interested in developing health care products for men, including treatments for symptoms of hair loss and erectile dysfunction.”

• The Sacramento Bee reports that the “Harris Ranch Beef Holding Company, which operates a beef slaughterhouse and packing plant in Selma and a cattle feedlot in Coalinga, has been sold to Hanford-based Central Valley Meat Holding Company.” Not included in the sale were “other Harris Farms businesses, including the Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant off Interstate 5 near Coalinga and Harris Farms’ horse division as well as farming operations for a range of crops including nuts, vegetables, citrus and grapes.”

Fox Business reports that restaurant chain Friendly’s is about to have fewer links - it is closing 23 locations in the Northeastern US.

The move will leave the company with 77 corporate locations and 97 franchisee-owned restaurants.

The story quotes CEO George Michel as saying that the decision follows a lengthy review to “chart a successful course forward in the face of shifting customer preferences, increased competition and rising costs.”

Wait a minute. There are still Friendly’s that are open?
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