Sterling Household Essay

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APRIL 30, 2013

WILLIAM E. FRUHAN
CRAIG STEPHENSON

Sterling Household Products Company
January of 2013 brought a new year and an important new opportunity to the management team of Sterling Household Products Company. Sterling manufactured and marketed a wide line of consumer goods, including laundry products, soaps, cosmetics, toilet preparations, and cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing products, which were sold domestically and internationally, and were used every day in millions of households around the world. Sterling’s family of quality products included many highly regarded brand names, and the company had consistently delivered impressive sales and profits to
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When
Sterling was founded in the early 1920s it produced and sold only laundry products, but success in this narrow business line allowed the company to grow and expand the scale and scope of its operations. Sterling invested internally as attractive opportunities were identified, but with brand development in consumer products being both a lengthy and expensive process, much of its growth came from acquisitions of existing and successful brands. By the beginning of 2013 the company
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HBS Professor William E. Fruhan and Babson College Professor Craig Stephenson prepared this case solely as a basis for class discussion and not as an endorsement, a source of primary data, or an illustration of effective or ineffective management. Although based on real events and despite occasional references to actual companies, this case is fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental.
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