Which brands will P&G dump?

  • Photo, file: Mike Simons/Getty Images

    Procter & Gamble (PG) has spent decades building a huge family of brand names, but now it's going to slash as many as 100 of them.

    It's a surprising step for a company that owns some of the most famous brands in the world. It's also an acknowledgement that for shoppers too much choice can be a bad thing. "This will be a much simpler, less complex company," CEO A.G. Lafley said in a conference call with analysts Friday.

    You've likely never heard of many of P&G's brands. That's because out of the 180 or so names P&G owns, it counts on only 50 for more than 90 percent of its sales and profits. Those are what it calls its Leadership Brands, the ones that stores want and the ones that resound with consumers.

    As for the rest? They failed to take hold or just have niche followings. They're taking up too much space on the books with little to no payoff. Meanwhile, P&G's sales and profit have been sluggish, and its stock price has given investors little to cheer about. That's why the company is taking the unprecedented step of dumping more than half of its stable of brands. It wants to slim down, become nimbler and focus on the names that make serious money.

    The company isn't saying which brands it will keep or cull, but people are guessing. The company's beauty business, for example, has been a longtime underperformer, Nik Modi, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, told The New York Times. "Maybe they just don't have what it takes to be in the beauty business," he added.

    Here are some of the best guesses about which brands will stay or go.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.