PZ Cussons blames downturn for tough trading conditions

PZ CUSSONS, the maker of Imperial Leather soap and Original Source showergel, yesterday blamed the global downturn for the “challenging” trading conditions it is experiencing in most markets.

It said this, combined with high food and fuel prices, was pressuring consumers’ disposable income.

Despite this, the firm said its performance over the past three months remained in line with its expectations, with “strong cash generation”.

“The board remains confident of a return to profitable growth in the current financial year,” it said in a statement accompanying the trading update.

In the UK, it said that the poor summer weather had hit sales of fake tan product St Tropez, but said early sales of its new mother and baby range “Cussons Mum and Me” had been “encouraging.”

It also said that its new skin care range, launched with ballet star Darcey Bussell as the face of the brand, had performed well.

Elsewhere in Europe, the company behind Morning Fresh washing up liquid and the Sanctuary range of beauty products, admitted that trading in crisis-struck Greece “remained difficult.”

It also said that sales in Nigeria — its biggest market — had been hit by the ongoing unrest in the North of Africa. However, it said opportunities in the region longer term remained “exciting.”

In Asia, Indonesian sales remained strong with further growth in profit, it said.