At $1.38 Billion, Wrigley Posts Highest Sales Quarter Ever

Sales of Wrigley's Orbit brand gum in Russia and East Europe helped lift the company's sales in the second quarter to a record $1.38 billion--its highest sales quarter ever.

Double-digit gains were posted in the former Communist nations with Orbit clocking in as the No. 1 of Wrigley's brands there, followed by the "notable contributions" of Eclipse and Juicy Fruit, the company reported on Monday.

Double-digit sales gains also were registered in Poland and Spain on the strength of Orbit and in Germany, where Extra attained "outstanding growth."

Wrigley attributed a worldwide shipment growth of 8% to its record-setting pace, which posted a 14% gain versus sales in the year-ago period.

President/CEO Bill Perez said the company's strong first-half performance "puts us in an excellent position to make the necessary investments in second-half product and marketing initiatives to keep our business growing."

About one-third of the quarterly gain, Wrigley said, was due to a weaker U.S. dollar in international sales, and the rest came from higher product prices in Europe and the U.S.



There was more good news from overseas. Double-digit sales growth in China was attributed to Doublemint, Extra and TaTa bubble gum brands. Extra is the No. 2 gum brand in China, officials said--just behind Doublemint.

Back on North American shores, net sales were $452 million--up 3% on a 1% volume decline, reflecting higher pricing. Growth by Orbit, the No. 1 gum in the U.S., and by Eclipse--in new packaging--as well as gains for Lifesavers, were offset by softer performances for Extra and the sugar stick brands in the quarter.

Continued strong growth for Altoids chocolate-dipped mints were offset by lower sales for other Altoids formats.

Shipments of Wrigley's new brand--5--that began later in the quarter, provided a modest boost to sales, but the impact of the launch is expected to be more pronounced in the second half of the year. With distribution growing at a record pace, brand advertising for 5 is scheduled to begin in August, the company said.

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