— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on April 30, Wednesday.
Welcome to the CNBC Business Daily.
Beards are back. Some men are reportedly paying thousands of dollars to even get facial hair transplants.
Shaving product makers like Gillette hope this is just a passing fad.
They're facing rising competition from cheaper alternatives like the Dollar Shave Club which delivers razors and shaving accessories to the customer by mail.
Gillette-owner P&G has started its own online razor subscription service.
Its grooming business generated about $8 billion in revenue last fiscal year and accounted for 9.4 percent of the company's sales. But the business declined 3.6 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost profit, the company is launching the most expensive razor ever.
At about 11 dollars and 50 cents the Flexiball with a new swivel action is P&G's attempt get more men to shave and at the same time spend more doing it.
(VO) project gambles Gillette division hosting a fancy launch here in NYC for its new razor , the flexball. it has a brand new tech, 5 years in the making a roller ball to help men shave faster, more smoothly, more efficiently to get to those hard to reach spots
the way the flexball works is a 3d pivot on the handle and basically you get maximum contact around the contours so you get virtually every single hair and the guys absolutely love the transformational experience we get with this product
(VO)P&G is hoping for a winner as razor sales in general have been flat to modestly growing especially in the US. IN fact, looking closer at the scanner data...in the last 16 of 17 months, razor sales have actually declined. in 2 of those months we've seen double-digit declines. What's driving it, a change in habits, facial hair becoming increasingly more popular and startups like dollar shave club and Hairys making a little traction at least on internet sales.
This is an important building bloc of our program absolutely. we know from the experience we have in terms of feed back that this changes their perception of shaving, we know this brings more guys into our franchise.
(VO)so P&G is hoping to revitalize the category with the launch of this new razor. it's an important one for the overall bottom line making up 9% of total sales. the qn is are P&G's core consumers going to pay up for the new innovation. the razor starts at $11.49, goes to $12.50....back to you
The Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall technology will begin shipping in the next few weeks and be widely available by June 9.
But will the high price further dent Gilletter image as cheaper alternatives are available?
Gillette may have to resort to some razor sharp marketing to get men to splurge.
That wraps up this edition of the Business Daily.
I'm Sri Jegarajah, reporting from CNBC's Asian headquarters
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