PZ Cussons sees spike in demand for handwash brands


Carex and Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons said it’s seen a spike in demand for its products since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a stock market trading update Cussons said that overall revenue declined, compared with the same time last year. However, its hygiene products have seen a return to growth.

Cussons Carex COVID boost

“Carex benefited from a significant increase in demand towards the end of the quarter driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the UK, we are experiencing exceptionally high demand for our Carex hand wash and sanitiser gel products and Imperial Leather soap. Our focus remains on sourcing, producing and distributing these.

“Our team has shown exceptional ability to reconfigure products and supply chains rapidly, but we continue to face challenges in sourcing packaging and raw materials to enable us to fully meet demand.

However, the company said its beauty business has been severely impacted.

St Tropez marketing cancelled

The company said the lockdown had impacted sales of its sun tan brand St Tropez.

“St Tropez has been hit hard by the social distancing measures in place in the UK, US and across Europe”, the firm said.

cussons-st tropez
Fading tans: COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing have hit sales of St Tropez.

“Our significant marketing activities planned for Q4 have been cancelled and we expect this business to be slow to recover.

“Our other beauty brands have also been adversely impacted with the focus of retailers at this time on hygiene and personal care and the closure of hair salons.

Cussonz is awaiting the arrival of its new CEO, Jonathan Myers. He is scheduled to take up his role at the start of May.

The company said its balance sheet remained strong. It stated net debt of £116m versus £183m at the same time last year; and “headroom” of £147m under its committed bank facilities.

Tribute to employees

Cussons paid tribute to its employees. It said its people, “whether working from home or keeping our factories around the globe running, have responded fantastically to the challenges facing us.

“Protecting them whilst continuing to produce products that can genuinely help stop the spread of Covid-19 remains our priority.

“The innovation, rapid product development and response to unprecedented conditions shown by our teams has been outstanding, and underlines both the scale of the challenges facing us, and the strength of our brands and teams.

Remaining open

“Our key manufacturing sites across all regions remain open, with our employees demonstrating huge commitment to ensuring that production of our important hygiene products continues.

“Where possible, all employees who can work from home are doing so, although each of our markets requires a different approach to this.

“Ensuring safe and secure conditions for those who still need to come to a place of work continues to be a priority.”

Cussons outlook

Cussons left its guidance on profit for the year unchanged for now. It said: “at this point our guidance on profit remains within consensus, albeit at the lower end.”

Cussons’ shares were trading 1.33% lower at £1.77 on Thursday morning.