Clorox Co. revises earnings outlook

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Clorox Co. sharply revised its sales and earnings outlook late Thursday, Dec. 14, announcing sales for the fiscal second quarter ending Dec. 31 are likely to fall by 4 percent to 6 percent. Clorox projects earnings, which analysts had projected to increase 15 percent to 38 cents a share, will instead fall 9 percent to 30 cents a share. Clorox said earnings for the full fiscal year should be flat at $1.70 a share, 13 percent below consensus estimates, with sales for the full year growing only "in low single digits." Clorox shares were off 9 percent to $34 on Thursday amid speculation that the company was preparing to issue an earnings warning, which came after the market closed. In a written statement, Clorox provided no reason for the downward revisions, but the company has scheduled a conference call with analysts for 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Retail sales of Clorox products were up only 0.3% for the four weeks ended November, according to J.P. Morgan Securities, dragged down mainly by weak sales of Glad plastic bags and wraps, but also by sagging sales of Liquid Plumr drain openers, Fresh Step cat litter, Brita water filters and Clorox bleach.

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