K-C reports record sales
Organic sales were up 4% on higher net selling prices and a significant bump in the company's international operations. Operating profit was down 5% to $662 million.
Within the personal care segment, sales increased 9% to $2.4 billion while operating profit declined 7% due to cost inflation, production curtailment and increased marketing and research expense.
By region, North American sales decreased 1% due to changes in net selling prices and product mix. While overall sales volumes were even with the year-ago period, these volumes increased in the double-digits in adult care and baby wipes with marketshare gains in both categories. New Poise Hourglass Shape Pads were introduced in the third quarter and contributed to the volume growth in adult care. Feminine care volumes increased in the high-single digits, with continued momentum in U By Kotex. On the other hand, although new Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Diapers are off to a solid start, infant care volumes fell in the low-single digits, and childcare volumes fell at a double-digit rate.
At the same time, sales increased 8% percent in Europe, including an 11% benefit from changes in currency rates. Sales volumes fell 1% as lower diaper volumes were mostly offset by growth in other product areas, including baby wipes and childcare. Sales increased 21% in K-C's international operations in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa (K-C International), including a seven point benefit from changes in currency rates.
Sales volumes were up 6% including double-digit growth in China, South Korea and Vietnam. In addition, volumes rose in the high-single digits in Latin America, with broad-based improvements throughout the region. Overall net selling prices rose 9% compared to the year-ago period, driven by increases in Latin America.