Personal care products giant Kimberly-Clark reported $4.8 billion in net sales for the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 7.6%, including an approximate 5% benefit from stronger foreign currency rates. Organic sales rose 2%, with sales volumes and net selling prices each up 1%. The organic volume growth was highlighted by an 8% increase for the company’s global Health Care business and a 5% gain for K-C’s international operations in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa.
In the Personal Care product segment, sales increased 8.1% compared with the first quarter of 2009. Personal care sales in North America increased 4% versus the first quarter of 2009. Sales volumes were up 2%, currency effects benefited sales by 1%, and changes in net selling prices, driven by the timing of promotional activity for Huggies diapers, added an additional point of growth. The growth in volumes was broad based across most categories, including a double-digit increase in feminine care as a result of initial shipments of the new U by Kotex line extension that was launched toward the end of the first quarter. In addition, sales volumes for Huggies baby wipes and the company’s childcare brands rose 5% and 4% respectively, compared to soft year-ago results that included the impacts of a slowdown in category sales.
In other areas of the business, sales volumes for adult care rose 3%, including early benefits from recent innovation on both the Poise and Depend brands. Finally, sales volumes for Huggies diapers were off about 5% in the first quarter.