Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Depend goes upscale with new undergarments

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Kimberly-Clark, which already launched separate versions of its Depend disposable underwear for incontinence for men and women, is updating the line again in April.  This time, it hopes to boost sales with pricier products for consumers who still want to wear real underwear, or at least look like they are doing so.

Depend womenDepend menThe new Depend variety packs look more like traditional underwear and are packaged more like the cotton underwear often sold in packages.  That way, perhaps shoppers who buy them — with a suggested price of $5.99 to $6.99 for a pack of six — will not feel as embarrassed, Kimberly-Clark asserts.

“Our consumer’s desired experience is to stay in their own underwear. Therefore, we want to make our Depend products as much like underwear as possible,” said Andrew Meurer, vice president of the company’s North American feminine and adult care brands.

At the same time, “men and women often experience significant anxiety and stress when shopping for these products, predominately due to the stigma that continues to exist with incontinence,” he said.

Boxers or briefs?

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As sales of women’s clothing have languished, felled by complaints about a lack of new fashions or fashions that women actually want to wear (who can forget the Jessica Simpson in high-waisted jeans debacle?), men’s apparel has been pointed to as a bright spot in an otherwise weak market.

model2But what exactly have men been buying?

Well, it appears to be underwear.

According to data released by NPD, the dollar value of apparel sales in the first half of this year was down 7 percent compared with a year ago, with sales of tailored clothing falling the most — down 11.4 percent.

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