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Distributors mount pressure on Colgate, suspend  stir  against  HUL

The end to the stalemate came after a team of six members of the AICPDF led by Dhairyashil Patil, national and Maharashtra state president of the federation, met with top executives of HUL on the company’s invitationPremium
The end to the stalemate came after a team of six members of the AICPDF led by Dhairyashil Patil, national and Maharashtra state president of the federation, met with top executives of HUL on the company’s invitation

If the situation does not improve even after three months, then the organization will again adopt the path of a fresh movement. So from today, the movement against HUL is postponed till further notice by the organization, the AICPDF said

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Small distributors on Tuesday suspended their campaign against Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) over complaints that packaged consumer goods makers were favouring large and internet-based wholesalers but pledged to take action against rival Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd.

Members of the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) met with top executives of HUL and extracted a promise to protect the interest of small distributors.

AICPDF said Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd had, however, failed to address and acknowledge issues faced by traditional distributors.

Distributors said they would keep a “close eye" on the situation for the next three months.

“If the situation does not improve even after three months, then the organization will again adopt the path of a fresh movement. So from today, the movement against HUL is postponed till further notice by the organization," the federation said.

The end to the stalemate came after a team of six members of the AICPDF led by Dhairyashil Patil, national and Maharashtra state president of the federation, met with top executives of HUL on the company’s invitation.

Late last month, distributors in Maharashtra pledged to stop selling select products of HUL, citing concerns over the company’s inability to engage in a dialogue with the distributor community. The federation had earlier raised concerns over issues faced by offline distributors who claimed FMCG firms were offering better prices and margins to business-to-business companies such as JioMart, Walmart, Metro Cash and Carry, Booker, Elasticrun and Udaan. These, in turn, were offering goods to retailers at better prices, distorting the traditional distribution channels, they claimed.

The federation threatened to take action against Colgate-Palmolive. On Tuesday, Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd told stock exchanges that it is working closely with its distributor networks to address their most pressing challenges and help find solutions for them and consumers.

The company said it hasn’t engaged with the federation but is in direct discussions with its distributors to resolve their challenges.

“At Colgate-Palmolive, we value the strong relationships we have developed with distributors over the past eight decades. We work hard to cultivate trust and transparency and will continue to prioritize the growth of all of our partners, irrespective of size and scale, as well as our mutual goal to deliver trusted Colgate oral care and personal care products to consumers. To that point, we are working closely with our distributor network to address their most pressing challenges and help find solutions for them and the consumers we serve together," the company said in response to the protest by the distributor fraternity.

For now, distributors have decided to stop selling Colgate MaxFresh in Maharashtra. “We could take this pan-India if our concerns are not heard," Patil said.

Distributors listed their concerns in the meeting held on Monday with HUL executives. Later, AICPDF said HUL would take “corrective actions" and protect the interests of their distribution channels. HUL will take up complaints against any disparity between trade channels, it added.

On Monday, HUL reiterated that general trade continues to be its largest channel, and its distributors are and will remain its valued partners in its 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 organization committed to the highest level of customer-centricity, HUL will make all the efforts to address any specific issue bilaterally with its distributors to mutual satisfaction," it said.

“Our distributors have overwhelmingly conveyed to us that they would continue to meet the needs of our shoppers and consumers in an uninterrupted manner," it added.

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