BOSTON — Gillette Co. fired the latest shot in the blade wars Wednesday, introducing a new razor for men that features five blades, one more than competitor Schick's model.
The razor, called Fusion, also has a facial hair trimmer on the back, the company said. The blades are 30% closer together, which the company says causes less irritation.
Peter Hoffman, who runs Gillette's razor and blades division, said Fusion was expected to break the sales records set by Gillette's Mach 3 brand of razors, which have three blades.
Hoffman also said he was confident that consumers would choose the Fusion line over the four-bladed Quattro, made by rival Schick-Wilkinson Sword, a unit of Energizer Holdings Inc. of St. Louis.
"It's not just about the number of blades," Hoffman said. "It's how closely they are positioned together, the flexible comfort guard. All the technology combines to make a great shave."
A Schick spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
William Chappell, an industry analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, said the bells and whistles might attract some consumers, but "those who buy Schick will always buy Schick and those who grew up on Gillette will go for Gillette."
But Gillette "is a marketing machine," Chappell added. "I think their goal of this being a billion-dollar-type product is pretty conservative. They didn't want to just be another four-bladed razor."
The Mach 3 brand makes up 30% of the global shaving market, Gillette said.
Boston-based Gillette is the largest manufacturer of wet shave products. Schick is No. 2.