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HUL meets sellers amid threat to expand strike

MUMBAI: Leading FMCG company Hindustan Unilever (HUL) appears to have finally reached out to traditional distributors under the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) who were on a strike in Maharashtra. An HUL spokesperson said, “In response to the request we had received from AICPDF, company representatives met them to understand their concerns and feedback about the evolving ‘Route to Market’ (RTM) models.”
The development comes even as AICPDF intensified its stand by threatening to extend the blockade of HUL’s products in four other states after Maharashtra, where it first decided to stop supplying the multinational’s products from January 1 after it received no response from the company. AICPDF’s grievance is the price disparity between traditional trade and business-to-business retailers.
The company has reiterated that general trade (GT) continues to be its largest channel. “Our distributors (redistribution stockists) are and will remain our valued partners in our quest to serve the needs of our consumers across India. HUL remains fully committed to ensuring that our distribution partners earn a fair return on their investments and work collaboratively in enhancing their capabilities to make them future-fit. As an organisation committed to the highest level of customer centricity, HUL will make all efforts to address any specific issue bilaterally with its distributors to mutual satisfaction,” the company said.
In a recent report, Edelweiss Research said, “These issues have happened earlier also, and we expect HUL and distributors to come to an agreement soon since both need each other.”
The AICPDF is threatening to extend blockade of HUL’s products in four other states after Maharashtra.

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