Personal healthcare brand PZ Cussons said revenues were ahead of pre-pandemic levels despite an unprecedented demand for hygiene brands easing.
The firm said it expected comparatives from the beginning of the Covid 19 outbreak to impact its year-on-year revenue comparisons in the first quarter of FY22, in a trading update published on Wednesday.
Its two year first quarter revenue grew 13 per cent with growth across its core categories of hygiene, baby and beauty and in all geographic regions.
However, its one-year revenue for the quarter marked a nine per cent drop, driven by hygiene. The category was held back by unusually low levels of promotional discounting on Carex in the prior year.
Revenue for the Carex brand was up more than 40 per cent in comparison to two years ago.
Revenue from continuing operations was £603.3m for the year ended May 31 with a loss of £16.6m after tax.
The Imperial Leather and Venus owner returned to growth in August and it expected to return to growth for the second quarter.
“PZ Cussons will be crossing its fingers the sanitizer boom is here to stay,” Dan Lane, senior analyst at Freetrade said.
“Carex could really be the gem of an otherwise uninspired brand portfolio but it can’t do all the heavy lifting itself.”
“What’s more, its collection just looks a bit unexciting – brands like Original Source and Imperial Leather show PZ Cussons has been trying to trade on past reputations for too long and has forgotten to keep up with the times.”
Jonathan Myers, chief executive officer, said: “We were able to demonstrate improved levels of profitability and significantly step up investments in marketing activity and commercial capabilities as we set out to be a business that builds stronger brands and serves more consumers.”
He added: “Our brands were available for our consumers when they needed them most and we retained market leadership – both with Carex in the UK and Morning Fresh in Australia. We were also pleased with the strong performance of our baby and beauty businesses, as consumer hygiene habits start to normalise.”
PZ Cussons said it continued to navigate inflationary pressures on commodities and freight and was attempting to reduce product, manufacturing and logistics costs.
“Despite the significant inflationary pressure on our cost base, assuming no further cost headwinds or global supply or other Covid-related disruption, we expect to deliver FY22 adjusted profit before tax within the current range of expectations,” Myers added.