Falling baby formula sales dent Reckitt's revenues

Consumer goods giant Reckitt’s first quarter revenues have dropped 4.6 percent to £3.7billion, after its US baby formula sales plunged due to resurgent competition there.

Reckitt had become the dominant baby milk formula in the US in recent years due to shortages there, which were exacerbated last year after a safety scare shut down a factory owned by rival Abbott Laboratories, the second biggest US supplier.

However, the market has since stabilised and as a result, Reckitt’s share of the infant nutrition market and takings have fallen. Chief executive Kris Licht said: “Nutrition continues to normalise in the US as expected, and we have maintained our value market share leadership.”

The fall at its nutrition or infant formula business wiped out gains made by its hygiene business. Sales of Reckitt’s hygiene products rose 1.1 percent to £1.6billion, while volumes rose 2.9 percent despite the price increases it implemented to offset inflation.

Although its volumes were flat, revenues at Reckitt’s health division dropped 6.4 percent to £1.5billion due to the soft end of the fold and flu season which hit demand for  and overshadowing gains from brands like Durex and Dettol.

Elsewhere, hygiene group PZ Cussons said that its third quarter revenues had plunged 23.7 percent to £126.7million due to falling sales in the UK and Asia Pacific, and the devaluation of the Nigerian Nara, which sent its African takings plummeting 48 percent.


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