Colgate’s leading global market shares in toothpaste and manual toothbrushes remain strong at 44.3% and 33.1%, respectively, on a year-to-date basis. We continue to make great progress in mouthwash, with our global market share in that category reaching a record high at 17.3% year to date, up 60 basis points versus the year ago period.
In North America, net sales increased 2.5% in first quarter 2014. Unit volume increased 4.5% with 1.0% lower pricing due to increased promotional activities and 1.0% negative foreign exchange. Organic sales increased 3.5% during the quarter.
Operating profit in North America was $216 million in first quarter 2014, even with the year ago quarter, while as a percentage of Net sales it decreased 60 basis points to 27.5%. This decrease in operating profit as a percentage of net sales was primarily due to a decrease in gross profit and an increase in Selling, general and administrative expenses, both as a percentage of net sales.
In the US, new product launches are contributing to volume growth. Market share gains year to date were seen in manual toothbrushes, mouthwash, dish liquids, liquid cleaners and fabric conditioners. In toothpaste, Colgate Optic White, Colgate Optic White Dual Action, Colgate Optic White Platinum Whiten and Protect, Colgate Total Advanced Clean and Tom’s of Maine toothpastes had strong sales during the quarter.
In manual toothbrushes, Colgate continued its brand market leadership in the US with its market share in that category reaching a record 41.9% year to date. This success was driven by strong sales of Colgate 360° Optic White Toothbrush + Built-In Whitening Pen, Colgate 360° Optic White, Colgate 360° Total Advanced Floss Tip bristles and Colgate Slim Soft manual toothbrushes.
Successful products driving volume growth in the US in other categories include Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield and Colgate Optic White mouthwashes, Speed Stick Gear deodorants with new DryCore technology, Softsoap brand Décor Collection liquid hand soaps, Suavitel Fast Dry fabric conditioner and Palmolive Dish & Sink dish washing liquid.
Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer, commented on the results excluding the 2014 and 2013 items noted above, “We are very pleased to have started the year with strong organic sales growth, building on the momentum we saw in 2013. Operating profit, net income and diluted earnings per share all increased versus the year ago period.
“We continue to plan for higher levels of advertising investment in the balance of the year in support of a very full pipeline of new products worldwide,” he said.