The company reported a 2.2% rise in like-for-like sales for the three months ended June 30, excluding its infant nutrition business in China, lower than the 2.3% growth analysts had expected, according to a company-supplied consensus.
The pandemic boosted Reckitt’s sales to record levels last year, but signs are emerging that some of that momentum is easing as vaccinations gather pace and stay-at-home restrictions in developed economies are lifted.
Reckitt said brands including Finish, Airwick, Harpic and Veet, which make up 70% of its sales, are growing, but at slower rates than last year, while brands like Durex, Vanish and Nurofen are returning to growth as market conditions normalise.
The company’s hygiene business, which includes Harpic disinfectants and Finish dishwasher pods, saw like-for-like sales rise 7.8%, while it fell 5.6% in its health business, which makes Mucinex cough syrup and Strepsils lozenges, in the second quarter.
Adjusted earnings per share for the six months ended June came in at 142.6 pence, below the 144.4 pence average estimate.
The company, which rebranded itself to Reckitt from RB earlier this year, maintained its full-year sales growth forecast of between flat to up 2%.
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)