Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has posted an annual sales rise of 11.8 percent – the strongest results in its history – driven by the pandemic hygiene boom.
The Slough based company’s sales surge was led by its flagship Dettol and Lysol disinfectants which were introduced to 41 new markets in a bid to capitalise on unprecedented demand. Immunity supplement brand Airborne was another strong performer with sales more than doubling.
However, as the vaccine roll out continues and the world edges towards some sense of normality, RB expects the strong growth to tail off, with a predicted sales growth of 0-2 percent in 2021. Commenting on the results, its Chief Executive Officer Laxman Narasimhan said 2020 was the year in which RB – and the world – “successfully navigated unchartered waters”.
“This past year we delivered a strong revenue performance with nearly £14bn of sales and +11.8 percent like-for-like growth. eCommerce sales grew by a record +56 percent and now account for around 12 percent of group net revenue. We have made a strong start to implementing our new strategy and proved that we can adapt and successfully respond to rapidly changing market conditions.”
He added: “Our portfolio is clearly resilient – with or without COVID-19 – and we are building a stronger business for the future.”
The company also announced a series of portfolio changes with a strategic review of its infant formula business in Greater China already underway. The review was triggered by falling revenues since it was acquired from Mead Johnson four years ago. RB will also sell Scholl footcare while purchasing the Biofreeze pain relief brand. Laxmann said: These decisions will position the portfolio towards higher growth brands and markets.
“Our purpose, to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world is more relevant than ever.”