Declining demand for bathroom paper causes Kimberly-Clark’s worst gross sales decline in a decade

By Sharon Terlep 

Kimberly-Clark Corp. has had its worst gross sales efficiency in a minimum of a decade, hit by provide chain disruptions, continued enterprise shutdowns and the fallout from final 12 months’s bathroom paper hoarding amid the pandemic.

Diaper maker Huggies and bathroom paper Cottonelle reported an 8% drop in natural gross sales, which excludes foreign money transactions and actions, for the quarter ended March 31. Kleenex tissue, fell 14%.

It is a huge reversal from 2020 when shoppers around the globe, caught at residence and hyper centered on cleansing, generated a 6% enhance in natural gross sales for the 12 months by loading up on paper towels. , cleansing merchandise and different fundamental family merchandise. Gross sales of shopper materials final 12 months elevated 14%.

“I’m not pleased with the outcomes,” mentioned Michael Hsu, CEO of Kimberly-Clark, on a name with analysts. He mentioned that whereas the corporate anticipated a slowdown in bathroom paper gross sales, the extent to which shoppers stopped shopping for bathroom paper got here as a shock.

Kimberly-Clark shares fell greater than 5% on Friday morning.

Demand for bathroom paper elevated within the first weeks of the epidemic, doubling within the second week of March, and remained excessive by way of most of 2020. People spent greater than $ 11 billion on bathroom paper a 12 months final, up from $ 9 billion a typical 12 months, in accordance with NielsenIQ. If the present tempo continues, 2021 gross sales could be lower than $ 9 billion.

This setback has added to different issues, together with inclement climate within the South and skyrocketing prices for uncooked supplies and transport, as problems from the pandemic and climate circumstances proceed to hamper chains of corporations. international provide.

Including to the woes: After a grim 2020 for Kimberly-Clark’s enterprise unit, which sells bathroom paper, paper towels, napkins and different merchandise to companies, gross sales fell 13% for the quarter, as a result of many places of work, faculties, eating places and resorts remained both. utterly or partially closed.

Mr Hsu mentioned the corporate is slicing prices, revising its advertising and marketing efforts and making broader value will increase so as to get well gross sales and enhance profitability. The corporate beforehand introduced plans to extend product costs for its toddler and little one care, grownup care and Scott bathroom tissue enterprise from June. These will increase would fall between mid and excessive share factors and take impact on the finish of June. Mr Hsu mentioned additional will increase have been possible.

Rival Procter & Gamble Co. additionally mentioned this week that it might elevate costs in response to rising commodity costs. P&G, maker of Pampers diapers, Gillette razors and Bounty paper towels, noticed extra average gross sales development for the quarter, however was not as badly hit. P&G natural gross sales elevated 4%, pushed by a extra various product line, together with magnificence and private care merchandise, family cleaners and oral care merchandise.

Kimberly-Clark reported first quarter earnings of $ 1.72 per share final quarter, down from $ 1.92 per share in the identical interval a 12 months earlier. Web earnings attributable to the corporate was $ 584 million, in comparison with $ 660 million within the first quarter of final 12 months.

Kimberly-Clark’s adjusted earnings have been $ 1.80 per share. Income fell 5% to $ 4.74 billion, from $ 5.01 billion a 12 months in the past.

The corporate has revised its forecast for 2021 downwards. It now expects natural gross sales development to be secure at 1%, down from 1% to 2%. Firm forecasts internet gross sales development of three% to five%, down 4% to six%, and adjusted earnings per share of $ 7.30 to $ 7.55, down from $ 7.75 to eight , $ 00.

–Matt Grossman contributed to this text.


(END) Dow Jones Information Wire

April 23, 2021 at 12:38 p.m. ET (4:38 p.m. GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc.

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