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Duracell Battery Segment Sales Rise 7%

Boston — A surge in U.S. battery demand, due, in part, to consumer response to electrical power interruptions, helped push up overall third quarter sales 7 percent for the Duracell battery segment at Gillette, to $514 million.

The Duracell segment also recorded a 35 percent profit increase during the three months, ended Sept. 30, to $106 million. The positive profit result was registered despite lower prices in North America, due to Duracell’s price-deal realignment initiative.

The company attributed strong third-quarter segment profit growth and improved margin to Duracell’s solid top-line results, together with purchasing savings and manufacturing efficiencies.

For the nine months, Duracell segment sales of $1.3 billion increased 7 percent, while profit of $199 million jumped 62 percent.

The core battery segment at Gillette helped the company record an 11 percent gain in consolidated sales in the third quarter, to $2.4 billion, from $2.2 billion in the year-ago period. Net income for the three months rose 18 percent, hitting $416 million, up from $354 million year on year.

For the nine months, consolidated Gillette sales grew 12 percent, reaching $6.6 billion, up from $5.9 billion in the same quarter in 2002. Net income for the nine months hit $1 billion, a 17 percent increase over the $870 million registered in the prior year.