Coronavirus ignites sales boom at Clorox

Sales jumped 15% from a year ago

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The Clorox Company reported surging sales as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted consumers to stock up on cleaning products such as disinfectant wipes.

The Oakland, California-based consumer products maker reported net earnings in its fiscal third quarter of $241 million, or $1.89 a share, as revenue spiked 15 percent year-over-year to $1.78 billion.

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Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting earnings of $1.67 a share on revenue of $1.71 billion.

“Beyond the extraordinary growth in our disinfecting products, we saw broad-based growth across all four segments as our portfolio is uniquely positioned to serve consumers in this unprecedented time,” CEO Benno Dorer said in a statement. “Importantly, our business was on track to deliver growth for the back half of the fiscal year in line with our expectations, even ahead of the pandemic.”

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Sales of cleaning products soared 32 percent to $671 million while revenue from lifestyle products jumped 10 percent. Sales climbed 2 percent in the household business and 11 percent internationally.

Volume growth surged by 18 points amid strong demand for products due to the pandemic, helping raise gross margins by 330 basis points to 46.7 percent. It was the sixth straight quarter of year-over-year expansion.

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Looking ahead, Clorox sees full-year sales growth of 4 percent to 6 percent and 2020 earnings per share of $6.70 to $6.90, up 6 percent to 9 percent from a year ago.

Clorox shares rose 21 percent year-to-date through Thursday, outperforming the S&P 500's 9.85 percent drop.