UPDATE 1-Schick fires new shot in razor war vs Gillette
* Razor war heats up even as consumers cut back
* Energizer's Schick Hydro to launch in April
* P&G's Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide razor debuts in June
By Jessica Wohl
BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb 19 (Reuters) - The razor aisle is about to get a bit more crowded as Energizer Holdings Inc (ENR.N) and Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) go after men with promises of closer, more comfortable shaves.
Energizer's Schick Hydro, the company's biggest men's razor debut since the four-bladed Quattro, makes the early introduction in April.
A five-blade version will be priced about 10 percent to 20 percent above Quattro, while a three-blade version will sell for less than Quattro, Chief Executive Ward Klein said during a presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference on Friday.
Gillette, the leader in razors, is hoping that men are ready to pay more, as it will price the Fusion Pro-Glide system coming out in June above Fusion, which is already at the top of the market.
"This is a tough environment to try to convince the average guy in his 20s to try to trade up and treat himself to a new level of skincare," said David Kolpak, managing director at Victory Capital Management. "They can't afford a burger. They aren't going to change razors."
Klein, however, said he had not seen "a fundamental shift downward" in the razor category. Given that his company's highest-priced line, Quattro, is below Gillette's Fusion, "the opportunity for trade up ... is huge."
Energizer appears to be making a smart bet since it can offer men looking for a cheaper item the new three-blade Hydro, while competing against Gillette on the higher end with the five-blade model, said Sanford Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl and Brad Dorfman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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