Unilever, the multinational consumer goods giant, has announced it is undertaking a review of its washing powder factory in Warrington, UK in light of falling sales of powder detergents.
The future of the plant, which manufactures Persil and Surf laundry powder and employs 123 staff, will be decided by the end of February, Unilever said.
“Unilever has made considerable efforts to address the site’s challenges in recent years, from investing in new product innovations, to offering product promotions in an attempt to drive consumer demand, to reducing costs and improving efficiency”, the company said.
But it added that these efforts have not been enough to offset the “sustained shift in consumer behaviour” which has seen market volumes for powder detergent fall by 15% in four years, as shoppers switch away from powder detergents towards liquids and capsules.
Commenting on the decision, Jon Strachan, vice president, supply chain at Unilever said: “As a result of a sustained and irreversible decline in consumer demand for washing power, our Warrington factory is currently running at less than half its capacity”.
“Despite considerable efforts by Unilever to address the site’s challenges, a review of the future of the site is unfortunately now necessary”, he added.