NEW YORK -- In an unprecedented surge of activity, a diverse group of brand marketers are contracting third-party retail service providers for field sales and merchandising functions on a national basis. While this trend is hardly limited to manufacturers in the soap and household cleaner aisle, it is especially pronounced there. Competitors Lever Bros., Benckiser Consumer Products, Procter & Gamble, Dial Corp., Colgate-Palmolive and S.C. Johnson & Son have all either expanded ...

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