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(April 24, 2001) -- Kimberly-Clark Corp. will delay shipments of its Kleenex Cottonelle Fresh RollWipes moist bath tissue from June until early July as retailer demand has come in stronger than expected and equipment to make the product came in late, President-Chief Operating Officer Tom Falk told analysts today.

The Irving, Texas-based marketer has seen 100% retailer acceptance of the new product, compared to its projected 80%, but because of the slower rollout, Kimberly-Clark now projects first-year sales of $125 million, vs. $150 million, as previously projected.

A $40 million marketing effort, including TV and print ads from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, and sampling of the product in public restrooms, begins later this summer.

Despite sales growth of 6.5% to $3.6 billion in the first quarter, Kimberly-Clark's earnings of 84 cents a share were at the low range of analyst expectations, and the company said rising energy costs and foreign currency effects would lower its earnings growth for the year from 10% to the 6% to 8% range. The company's shares were down 8.7% to $57.30 in mid-morning trading today. -- Jack Neff

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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