* CVS chooses Duracell, private-label alkaline batteries
* Will still sell Energizer lithium batteries
* Change to take place in early 2010
(Adds timing of change, market share data)
By Jessica Wohl
CHICAGO, Dec 1 CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N) has
found a way to stop the Energizer bunny. It will discontinue
sales of the company's alkaline batteries early next year.
The national drug store chain will still offer customers
lithium batteries produced by Energizer Holdings Inc (ENR.N),
but the move comes as CVS and other retailers narrow the
variety of products they sell.
"After testing various options in the battery category in a
number of stores, we found that our customers responded best to
an offering which included a single 'national brand' alkaline,
plus Energizer lithium and our own private label batteries," a
CVS said it decided to sell Procter & Gamble Co's (PG.N)
Duracell alkaline batteries and would continue to sell
Energizer lithium batteries in all of its stores.
A spokeswoman for Energizer did not return calls seeking
Alkaline batteries account for the majority of U.S. battery
sales. Duracell Coppertop is the leading alkaline battery in
the United States, with a 41.6 percent share, followed by
Energizer Max, which has a 27.8 percent share, according to
Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based market research
IRI's data covers the 52 weeks ended on Nov. 1. It includes
sales at supermarkets, drugstores and mass market retailers,
but excludes sales from Wal-Mart, club stores, gas stations and
Last month, Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz said he
expected retailers to make shelf space decisions over the
coming weeks. He expected Energizer to get additional space at
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and Safeway Inc SWY.N stores and
said it could see a "potential loss" at CVS.
According to Schmitz, Energizer had about $25 million in
sales at CVS.
Major U.S. retailers, including CVS, have been putting more
emphasis on their private label products. Such goods typically
carry lower prices than their branded rivals but are more
profitable for the stores. Store-branded household goods have
gained popularity during the downturn, as shoppers try to curb
Private label alkaline battery sales rose 5.5 percent, in
dollars, to a 18.9 percent share during the latest 52 week
period, according to IRI. Sales of Duracell and Energizer's top
alkaline batteries declined 4.6 percent and 1.9 percent,
respectively, during the same period.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Gerald E. McCormick,
((email@example.com +1 312 408 8132; Reuters
((See blogs.reuters.com/shop-talk/ for Shop Talk --
Reuters' retail and consumer blog))