Drop In Cleaning Shoes Forces Kiwi Out Of Key Markets

 Kiwi shoe polish, a global brand that, at its height, was sold in 183 countries, selling 250 million tins yearly, may be forced out of key markets such as the UK.

According to a report, SC Johnson, the current owners of the Kiwi brand, said it was no longer worthwhile to continue selling its polish in the UK since the practice of British people cleaning their shoes is disappearing. The report stated that the company intends to concentrate on an assortment of other items from its stable.

It was, however, reported that in New Zealand and other markets, big retailers including The Warehouse still carry Kiwi shoe polish.

“There has been a decline in Britons cleaning their shoes, which has been accompanied by an increase of casual shoes that don’t need to be polished. In nations where formal shoe care “remains relevant, we would continue to offer the items,” the company representative said.

The New Zealand Herald quoting David James, 62, whose family’s shoe repair and cleaning business started in Central London 100 years ago, reported that Kiwi’s departure is a sign of the times.

In the UK, Kiwi’s departure is attributed, in part, to people wearing suits and formal shoes much less. It was also noted that, apart from COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the culture of working from home, a trend of people wearing trainers more and more, even to work, was in place before then. While shoes are dying, trainers are alive.

Although many thought it was a New Zealand product, Kiwi shoe polish was first introduced in Australia by William Ramsay, who named it Kiwi in honour of his wife Annie, who was born in New Zealand.

Having started production in a two-room Melbourne factory, the shoe polish with a distinctive name and Kiwi bird logo quickly established itself as a staple in cities all over the world.

After starting in 1906, Kiwi shoe polish was introduced to Europe two years later. Sara Lee Corporation acquired the company in 1984, and then in 2011, it was sold to SC Johnson.

 Culled for Marketing Edge

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