Surprise Forecast Cites Strong Sales, but Third Quarter Shows Weakness

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CINCINNATI ( -- Clorox Co. today cited stronger-than-expected sales of its Clorox laundry additives, Glad food and trash bags and Brita water filtration products in announcing earnings per share for its fiscal second quarter, ending Dec. 31.

The company said earnings will come in 6% to 12% ahead of analyst expectations but added that fiscal third-quarter earnings wll be 10% to 16% below consensus forecasts as he company spends behind new product launches, including its Clorox Ready Mop bucketless floor cleaning system.

The company, which has increased marketing spending this year, cited renewed marketing focus on its core brands and lower interest expense as factors behind the upside surprise.

The company said sales and shipments should be up 3% to 4% for the second quarter and 3% to 5% for the fiscal year ending June 30. Clorox also announced a price increase for its flagship bleach brand Clorox bleach by 6% to 6.5% in May.

Second-quarter earnings should come in at 35 cents to 37 cents a share, up from 31 cents a year ago, while third-quarter earnings should reach 40 cents to 43 cents, down from 45 cents a year ago, Clorox said. The forecasts exclude effects of restructuring charges.

Clorox announced Dec. 6 it will cut about 8% of its salaried workforce, including about 260 U.S. employees.

In mid-day trading, Clorox shares were down 4% to $38.73.

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