Skin care continues to drive Playtex results

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Net sales Revenue

Playtex has announced steady growth for its fourth quarter sales
and net profits, boosted by a particularly strong performance from
its skin care sales, which were up by nearly 18 per cent.

The Connecticut–based company, which manufacturers and markets, skin care, infant care and feminine hygiene products, reported a 3 per cent increase in its reported sales to €133.5m, which included $6.5m in sales from non-core brands divested during the quarter. The steady growth in sales, along side the company's restructuring program, also helped it to turn a corner, with net income on a reported basis up from a loss of $12m in for fourth quarter of 2005, to reach $6.5m this year. For the full year the company reported net sales on a reported basis of $643.8m, a figure that included $48.6m in sales for divested non-core brands, and one that was down 1 per cent on the figures for 2005. Net sales of retained brands were up 7 per cent for 2006, to reach $636.1m, compared to $595.2m in 2005. This total sales of net retained brands for 2006 includes charges and gains. CEO Neil DeFeo pointed to the fact that the company's net sales of retained brands for 2006 had reached an all-time high, further stressing the fact that the company had met all of its objectives for the year. "We have accelerated the rate of growth in net sales of retained businesses as well as accelerating growth in earnings for the Company," he said. "We met our strategic goals for the second full year in a row - since announcing our five point strategy." Although reported sales of the company's feminine care products fell slightly from $229.72m in 2005 to reach $229.42m for 2006, sales in the company's skin care division more than made up for the drop. The company said that sales of all three of its skin care brands – Banana Boat, Wet Ones and Playtex grew, both in the fourth quarter and for the full year. Net sales of skin care grew 17.9 per cent to $37.5 million, and operating income grew 22.0 per cent to $8.0 million, driven primarily by strong sales for the Banana Boat and Wet Ones brands. Growth for the skin care division's full year net sales exactly matched that for the quarter, to reach $230.8m. For the full year Banana Boat sales were the main driving force, followed by Wet Ones. "Several factors contributed to sun care's strong showing in 2006," said DeFeo. "Adding to strong category growth, we gained market share as a result of the combination of new products at higher price points including Banana Boat UltraMist continuous spray and Baby and Kids TearFree products." Several new launches helped to boost the infant division, with net sales for the quarter growing 7.2 per cent to reach $44.1m, and up 3.6 per cent to $175.9m for the full year. Looking ahead to 2007, the company believes that net sales should increase in high single digit figures for the full. It also said that results would vary from quarter, in line with the timing of new product launches and seasonal variations associated with skin care sales.

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