Sara Lee Doesn’t Like Brylcreem?

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Sara Lee Corporation (NYSE:SLE) said it would possibly sell its International Household & Body Care business after receiving “expressions of interest” from possible buyers.

The company has some classic low growth brands, including Kiwi shoe polish and Brylcreem hair goop. Both could very interesting brands if Sara Lee wanted to try to grow them, but the company seems to be more focused on food. Brylcreem is not only famous in the U.S., but is known around the world, where it has more of a hip image through racy commercials. Combe owns the brand in the U.S.; Sara Lee owns it overseas.

“Our Household and Body Care business has very strong brands, great distribution and a talented leadership team,” said Brenda C. Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer, Sara Lee Corporation, in a Business Wire release.

Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, the International Household and Body Care segment sells household and personal care products sold in more than 150 countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and North America. It is a $2.3 billion business and employs approximately 8,000 people worldwide.

Our take on the situation? It might even be an interesting play for Pfizer, which could add these brands to its new portfolio of household brands from Wyeth and its predecessor company, A.H. Robins. Pfizer made a major mistake by getting rid of its consumer products business, which it had for generations with its own brands and its Leeming division, which made Hai Karate.

Sara Lee’s brands and categories include:

  • Household: Air care, shoe care, insecticides and laundry care including the Ambi Pur, Kiwi, Pyrel, Vapona, Biotex and Neutral brands
  • Body Care: Bath & shower, deodorants, baby care, men’s toiletries and oral care including the Sanex, Duschdas, Radox, Zwitsal, Brylcreem, Prodent and Zendium (great Scandinavian toothpasted brand)

Other Sara Lee brands include Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and Senseo.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. note re above: Sold under ” Gloria Polishing Powder”

  2. Just a quick question…..
    Whenever I am in Norway I stock up on KIWI brand polishing powder. Seeing that KIWI is one of your brands, I am wondering if that highly effective product for use on copper,brass, and stainless steel is available here in the States under another name.
    Thank you.
    Inger B

  3. Don’t forget the iconic brand Ty-D-Bol, which is also part of Kiwi Brands. Also, Endust and Behold furniture polish brands, which Kiwi bought from The Drackett Co. Div. of Bristol-Myers Co. years ago when S.C. Johnson bought the rest of Drackett and had to divest its furniture polish brands due to antitrust concerns.

    But I don’t blame you for not listing these since the Sara Lee website is NO HELP, only listing their international brands.

    This lackadaisical stance is further proof that this sale is long overdue. Sara Lee’s weak portfolio of household and personal care brands was a poor fit from the start, and they never did anything with the division like expanding it through further acquisitions, or market it online or otherwise, as you found out!

    Pfizer will not be interested, I’m certain. I think the perfect company to buy it would be Church & Dwight, or perhaps Dial/Henkel.

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