Post-pandemic trading normalising at Carex maker PZ Cussons

Manchester consumer products group, PZ Cussons, said fourth quarter trading, to May 31, is in line with forecasts, and confirmed its expectations for its full year adjusted profit before tax remain unchanged.

In a trading update today, it said the group expects annual revenues of approximately £590m, with full year like for like (LFL) revenue growth of three per cent and quarter four LFL growth of seven per cent.

Growth continues to be driven primarily by improvements in price/mix, with limited impact on volume.

The group, which makes the Carex hand sanitiser and Imperial Leather soap brands, said it continues to see good revenue momentum on its Must Win Brands, which grew four per cent in quarter four.

This sequential improvement reflects the ongoing benefit of marketing and executional focus, a normalising of the supply challenges for US Beauty, and a significantly lower rate of decline in Carex, as the demand for the hand hygiene category in the UK normalises following the COVID pandemic, it said.

Childs Farm, which was acquired in March, has performed in line with expectations and the plans to develop the brand are progressing well.

Chief executive, Jonathan Myers, said: “As we close our first full financial year under our new strategy, ‘Building brands for life. Today and for future generations’, I am pleased with the significant progress made in returning the business to sustainable, profitable revenue growth.

“With a new team in place, we have re-focused on the core job of building brands and have started to unlock value through dramatically reducing complexity in our business.

“The trading environment continues to be challenging, with high input cost inflation and pressures on household budgets. We have plans in place to mitigate the impact of this, as we continue to deliver great value for consumers, whilst also investing behind more premium innovations.”

He added: “The recent introduction of our new portfolio brand, Cussons Creations, for the value-conscious consumer, alongside the re-launches of Sanctuary Spa and Imperial Leather, are good examples of such initiatives. They have been well received by customers and have allowed us to secure significant distribution gains.

“We have great brands and great people and, whilst there is more to be done to deliver against our strategy, we remain excited by the long term opportunities ahead of us.”

The grup will report its 2022 results and provide a 2023 outlook, along with its first quarter trading update, on September 22.

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