Gillette, which makes razors and Duracell batteries, reported net income of $416 million, up from $354 million a year ago. Sales rose 11% to $2.4 billion, driven by a 17% jump in blade and razor sales to $1.03 billion. Duracell sales rose 7 % to $514 million, and profits were $106 million, or 35%.
Those figures were hurt by the effects of the company exiting its zinc carbon battery businesses in South Africa and India and lower prices, but were helped by customers stocking their pantries for Hurricane Isabel earlier this year, sources said. The drawing down of those consumer supplies, however, is expected to slow sales growth in the fourth quarter, the company said. “Gillette met the challenges of increased competition in each of our core categories with strong marketing initiatives that drove very solid sales growth and record earnings per share,” said chairman and chief executive officer James M. Kilts.
For the first nine months of the year, Gillette earned $1.02 billion, compared with $870 million a year ago. Sales rose 12% to $6.63 billion.