Clorox Co. raised its fiscal first-quarter earnings outlook on the strength of continued cost cuts and increased confidence in its product offering. The maker of household bleach, Glad bags and other consumer products on Wednesday said it now expects earnings of 52 cents to 55 cents a share for the quarter ending Sept. 30, up from an August estimate of 50 cents to 52 cents a share. The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call was for earnings of 51 cents a share. Clorox's year-earlier first-quarter earnings were $108 million, or 45 cents a share, on revenue of $991 million.
A Clorox spokeswoman said the company expects first quarter margins above year-earlier levels of 42.9% because of the company's favorable product mix. The spokeswoman later said that Clorox's specialty products, in particular its Kingsford brand of charcoal, were helping to drive sales for the quarter.
Clorox ReadyMop, a cleaning product introduced in January, led sales growth in North America in the company's fiscal fourth quarter. Other strong performers for the company this year have been both Kingsford and Match Light charcoal, Formula 409, Clorox Clean-Up and Clorox disinfecting wipes. However, sales of regular and color-safe bleaches declined in the most recent quarter, as have sales of bags, wraps and water-filtration systems.
The company said Wednesday it still expects low-single-digit percentage growth in the first quarter.