Corporations: Scalping the Competition

In the pink jungle of the toiletries business, Leonard H. Lavin, 43, president of Chicago's Alberto-Culver Co., aims for no less than "the elimination of all competition." While such a goal seems unlikely to all but Lavin, his stalking tactics in only eight years have changed Alberto-Culver from a one-product company (Alberto VO5 hair conditioner) to a rising threat in the industry, with sales last year of $57 million from 14 national brands.

In the past month Alberto-Culver has brought out three new products: a skin lotion, a shampoo concentrate and an aerosol antiseptic spray that hardens to form a...

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