Clorox Tops Q4 Earnings Forecast on Cleaning Sales Surge

Clorox followed rivals Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive in recording a surge in cleaning supply sales during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic that helped drive stronger-than-expected quarter earnings.

Clorox Co.  (CLX) - Get Clorox Company Report posed stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Monday thanks to a surge in cleaning product sales triggered by the global coronavirus pandemic. 

Clorox said earnings for the three months ending in June, the group's fiscal fourth quarter, were pegged at $2.41 per share, a 28.1% increase from the same period last year and firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.99 per share. Group revenues, Clorox said, rose 22% to $1.983 billion and again beat analysts' forecast of a $1.875 billion tally.

Sales from Clorox's Heath and Wellness division, which includes cleaning and professional products as well as vitamins and supplements, rose 33% to $805 million, the company said, around double the gains seen in the group's household and lifestyle units.

Looking into the group's 2021 fiscal year, Clorox said it sees a range mid-single digit decline to mid-single digit growth in diluted earnings, as well as a flat to low-single digit percentage growth rates for net sales.

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"I'm pleased that we've delivered a quarter of exceptional results, fueled by strong demand for our products that we've been privileged to provide in support of public health and to serve some of the essential needs of consumers as they've had to stay at home more," said CEO Benno Dorer. "These results could not have been possible without dedication and strong execution by our people, who have always been guided by our core value Do the Right Thing."

"Guided by our IGNITE Strategy, we remain committed to building on this momentum through deliberate and aggressive investments to support our ambition of accelerating long-term sales growth," he added.  

Clorox shares were marked 2.9% lower in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $229.56 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 50% and value the Oakland, California-based group at around $28.5 billion.

Clorox also said CEO Dorer will step down in September after six years at the helm, making way for Linda Rendle, a longtime Clorox executive who has been with the group for more than two decades.