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PZ Cussons returns to sales growth as beauty sales see strong bounce back

·2-min read
A St Tropez product launched in the US with model Ashley Graham has sold out three times, Myers said (Erin Baiano)
A St Tropez product launched in the US with model Ashley Graham has sold out three times, Myers said (Erin Baiano)

Carex and St Tropez owner PZ Cussons has returned to revenue growth for the first time in seven years as boss Jonathan Myers pursues a long-term turnaround strategy.

The consumer goods group said in a trading update that annual revenues were up 7% and bosses expect profits for the year to June to come in ahead of consensus.

Carex sales are down compared to last Spring - when demand reached an all-time high as the pandemic hit - and personal hygiene sales are still lower than 2019 levels as people work from home around the world.

But several of the firm's other core brands grew by 20-30% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, with a "strong bounce back" in beauty sales as lockdowns relaxed.

Myers told the Standard "there is definitely a sense of renewed momentum", and that there has been "a lot of progress on simplifying our business" - including the sale of its Nigerian milk business, Nutricima, and its Australian yogurt business, five:am, and the streamlining of its African distribution network in the period.

The CEO cautioned that "along with other consumer goods companies, we are dealing with commodity and other cost headwinds", but labelled it a "year of solid progress".

He said: "We continue to sharpen our portfolio ... We are putting the highest investment into building brands in a decade."

The company also revealed the appointment of a new sustainability chief, and Myers wants PZ Cussons to become the first UK listed company to achieve B Corp certification.

"Rarely do we have a call with investors now where ESG doesn't come up... We're smaller than many of the really big players - the Reckitts, the Unilevers - and therefore we should be able to do more remarkable things even faster."

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