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Dettol maker says sales looking strong but warns of inflation

Dettol maker says sales are at the top end of expectations but costs are rise. (Matt Alexander / PA)
Dettol maker says sales are at the top end of expectations but costs are rise. (Matt Alexander / PA)

Durex and Air Wick maker Reckitt said it expects sales to be at the top end of market expectations but warned that the cost of production continues to soar.

The company revealed sales fell 2.3% in the first three months of the year to £3.4 billion, but on a like-for-like basis, stripping out selling off some of its brands, sales were up 5.6%.

Its hygiene division suffered the most during the period, dropping 9% like-for-like due to heavy falls in sales of its Lysol disinfectant products when compared to strong sales during the height of the pandemic a year earlier.

Durex products
Durex maker Reckitt said it had a strong period for its products (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Excluding Lysol sales, growth in the hygiene division, which includes brands like Finish, Air Wick, Harpic and Vanish, sales were up 3.9%.

Reckitt’s health division, including Lemsip, Strepsils and its Durex condom range, rose 20.6% on a like-for-like basis.

Dettol is “in line with expectations” and on track for low single digit growth during the year, although the company did not say whether it had suffered a fall in sales during the first three months of the year.

The company’s nutrition division saw like-for-like growth of 20.4% with strong sales in the US.

Reckitt chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said it had been a strong start to the year despite a challenging operating environment.

He added: “As we look to the balance of the year, the operating environment remains highly unpredictable.

“We are well placed to address these market dynamics through the strength of our brands, our favourable product mix, our productivity programme and the responsible pricing initiatives already undertaken, with scope to take further actions.”

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