Personal care appliance maker The Gillette Company reported first-quarter net sales increased 17 percent to U.S. $2.61 billion from $2.24 billion in the first quarter of 2004.
The company says solid volume gains and trade-up were achieved across Gillette's core categories and in all regions, with notable growth in the developing markets of Russia, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. Sales also benefited from five additional days in the first quarter of 2005 versus 2004.
Net income for the quarter rose 19 percent to $449 million from $376 million last year, driven by the strong operating results and a lower effective tax rate, down 1 percentage point to 28 percent from a year ago. Diluted net income per share rose to a first-quarter record of $0.45, up 22 percent from $0.37 a year ago.
"There's more to come in 2005 and beyond," James M. Kilts, chairman, president, and CEO, said. "Although we will face difficult comparisons in our second quarter, we expect ongoing strength for the first half and full year. Our proposed merger with Procter & Gamble will enhance our ability to accelerate growth opportunities in key developing markets and innovate on significantly broader platforms over the long term."
The company reported that in its Blades and Razors segment, net sales for the first quarter increased 13 percent to $1.17 billion and were attributed to new products such as the M3Power Nitro. In addition, M3Power was rolled out across Europe and in Australia.
In the company's Oral Care segment, net sales for the quarter increased 31 percent to $413 million. The strong sales advance reflected the success of new products introduced over the past year and ongoing growth in developing markets. Gillette said its ProfessionalCare 8000 and Sonic Complete rechargeable brushes, strengthened Oral-B's position in the global brushing market.
Braun net sales grew 18 percent to $306 million for the quarter. Sales growth reflected strong performance in the AMEE region, particularly in Russia and Turkey, as well as ongoing gains in male and female hair removal led by the Braun Activator premium shaver, the new youth-oriented cruZer3 shaver, and the Silk Epil female epilator. During the quarter, Braun increased its value share of the male electric shaver market in North America and Europe. In the U.S., for example, Braun posted a 2.7 percentage point gain in value share to 23.3 percent.
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