By Walt Hickey Welcome back! Branded Last year Procter & Gamble spent $100 million to buy Native, a company that sells deodorant through the mail. It’s one attempt to stay ahead of the direct-to-consumer hoard that is chipping away at the margins of major retailers. Indeed, of the over 400 direct-to-consumer brands out there, about 45 of the companies are specifically targeting a product segment that Procter & Gamble essentially owns. There’s now another threat for established consumer good companies, which is unbranded items like the in-house brand offered by Amazon. Energizer and Duracell are great examples: branded batteries have been getting hosed by generic competitors because people truly don’t care about the sticker on the outside of their AAs.