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Duracell Q4 Sales Drop 9%, Profit Off 48%

1/29/2002 10:49:00 AM Eastern

Boston - Although sales and profit dropped in the fourth quarter, U.S. share of market increased for the Duracell batteries segment at Gillette.

Gillette reported that Duracell segment sales decreased 9 percent, to $827 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with the year-ago period, while profit for the three months declined 48 percent, to $83 million, compared with the fourth quarter in 2000.

However, Gillette said its Duracell segment increased total U.S. market share, driven by gains from the recently relaunched CopperTop brand, and that December represented the seventh consecutive month of Duracell alkaline unit and value share increases, reversing 21 straight months of declines.

Sales and profit growth at Duracell was tempered by unmatched trade inventory increases last year, higher promotional spending, unfavorable product mix and economic weakness in Latin America.

For the 12 months, Duracell segment sales fell 8 percent, to $2.36 billion, compared with the previous year, while profit dropped 52 percent, to $217 million, compared with the previous 12 months.

Overall Gillette sales declined 3 percent, to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $2.8 billion in the year-ago period. Net income from continuing operations of $1.04 billion was 16 percent lower than the prior year.

Overall sales for the year were nearly $9 billion, down 3 percent from the $9.2 billion reported in 2000. Net income from continuing operations was a bit above $1 billion, 16 percent lower than the previous year.