WE’RE NOT OUT of the woods yet. Consumer sentiment is bad, housing is still a mess and Wall Street is gyrating violently every day…and then there’s that spill in the Gulf that needs to be cleaned up and who knows how much that will cost or who exactly is going to pay for it. There’s no question that there are still plenty of questions to be answered, but when taking a look at company performances during the past 12 months for this edition of The Top 50 it’s clear that the worst is over. By the fourth quarter of 2009, nearly every company on our list reported that sales were expanding again. The good times continued into the new year, as most companies recorded a big jump in quarterly results.
It may be anecdotal evidence, but nearly every raw material executive I’ve talked to at industry trade shows in the first half of 2010 reported that sales were up and, perhaps more importantly, their customers were upbeat about the future. Now, if only household and personal care companies can get consumers to be as optimistic about their big ticket purchases as they are about their non-durable purchases, then the economy would really get going and growing again!
On the pages that follow, you’ll read more about The Top 50, HAPPI’S annual look at the biggest U.S. companies in the global household and personal care industries. It’s a good gauge of where we’ve been and in many instances, where we’re headed.
For more than 30 years, Procter & Gamble has topped our list and, despite the worst economic slowdown in nearly 80 years, P&G still remains on top of our newest version of The Top 50. Colgate-Palmolive is a distant No. 2, with S.C. Johnson, Estée Lauder and Avon rounding out the top five. These industry leaders and the 45 other companies that you’ll read about on the following pages, have all made the necessary cuts and, in some cases, the necessary expenditures, to get back on the growth track.
We hope you enjoy this edition of The Top 50. As always, we welcome your comments on our rankings, as well as anything else that appears in HAPPI. Be sure to read our August issue, which includes The International Top 30, our article on the largest manufacturers of household and personal products with corporate headquarters outside the U.S.