Last year, executives at Procter & Gamble Co. were alarmed whenWal-Mart Stores Inc. stocked a European competitor right next to the company’s iconic Tide detergent. It was a barb for the consumer-products giant, which has long considered Wal-Mart’s shelves to be its most valuable retail real-estate.
P&G employees rushed to a nearby Wal-Mart to snap pictures of the rival premium detergent, Persil, owned by Germany’s Henkel AG. They set up a “war room” in an office near Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. To help fend off Persil at Wal-Mart, they gave Tide’s marketing budget a 30% boost, according to people familiar with the situation.
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