(Bloomberg) -- Procter & Gamble Co. is looking to head shaving to jump-start its Gillette segment as working from home, intense competition and wavering shopper sentiment weigh on the business.

The company is testing $45 head-shaving kits with the first Gillette razor designed specifically for going bald. The razors are shorter and wider than typical ones, for better control and maneuverability, the company says. There’s also gel primer and a lotion for shine control that costs $15, all sold under Gillette’s Baldly brand. P&G says it’s still in the “test and learn” phase, and it’s selling limited quantities of the new brand online only. 

The consumer-products giant needs to do something to boost Gillette, which it bought for $57 billion in 2005. P&G on Tuesday announced that it was writing down Gillette’s value by $1.3 billion. P&G, whose other products include Tide laundry detergent and Pampers diapers, also is restructuring and liquidating certain operations in Nigeria and Argentina due to weak macroeconomic conditions. 

The stock fell as much as 3.8% in New York, marking the biggest intraday decline in more than a year. Through Monday, P&G shares had gained less than 1% this year, compared with a 4% drop for the S&P 500 consumer-staples index.

P&G’s Dawn foaming dish soap helped to revive the decades-old category, and its Swiffer mops made the laborious duty of floor cleaning easier for consumers. The Cincinnati-based company is hoping Baldly will join them as another innovation success story.

The new brand promises to “liberate men from the stigma around going bald and give balding men the confidence to take back control and proudly own their baldness,” a spokesperson said in an email. P&G is still gathering customer insights, and it’s too early to tell if Baldly products will be introduced more broadly, the spokesperson said.

While P&G has been able to report higher revenue in recent quarters, that growth has come from increased prices. Global shipment volumes have fallen in the past six quarters as shoppers get increasingly wary amid persistent inflation. In the most recent quarter, P&G’s grooming volumes dipped 2%, with the company calling the decline “pricing-related.” Razors are a big deal for the company, with the broader category making up about 8% of total revenue.

Real Impact

“Work-from-home has really impacted shave-market and grooming volumes,” said Deborah Aitken, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “Gillette is one of the most premium pricing ranges in store-stocked razors, too.”

P&G’s business is seeing “an additional hit when the consumer backdrop is increasingly price-sensitive,” Aitken said. While Gillette does sell some lower-priced razors, that doesn’t combat less-frequent use, she said.

There’s also been a surge of rivals in recent years, among them Dollar Shave Club, which sells a shave starter set for just $9 online. Harry’s Inc. has also attracted shoppers with its sleek, low-priced razors sold over the internet and more recently at brick-and-mortar stores.

“We have seen increased competition,” said Brittany Quatrochi, an analyst with Edward Jones. “We have seen it’s more socially acceptable to have facial hair.”

In the US, blade sales volumes dropped 5.7% in the year ended Nov. 5, Circana retail data show. Meanwhile, prices were about 6% higher for the $1.9 billion category. Razor unit sales have been pressured, too, amid higher prices, the data show.

P&G says that going bald can be a “game-changer” for many men, about 66% of whom show signs of balding by the time they’re 35 years old. “Being bald is liberating,” the Baldly website advertises.

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