Dettol, Harpic and Lysol contributing to Reckitt's India sales growth

British consumer goods major Reckitt Benckiser (RB) said on Friday brands such as Harpic and Dettol were contributing significantly to its India sales growth, led partially by the government's Clean India Mission. 

The company reported a 6 per cent like-for-like sales growth in healthcare and a 10 per cent like-for-like sales growth in hygiene and home for the April-June period within its developing markets region. This growth, said Reckitt, was led by countries such as India, where Dettol and Harpic are big brands. 

While India is Dettol's largest market, brands such as Harpic and Lysol have been growing well in recent years, said sector analysts, on the back of improved penetration, more disposable income among people and the need for better cleaning solutions.

Reckitt said it was pushing more affordable and innovative packs of Harpic in India as sanitation needs grew on the back of the push to set up more toilets in the country. While the Clean India Mission (or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) began with Dettol associating with the programme a few years ago, it now includes Harpic as well, the company said.

Dettol, said sector analysts, is estimated to be contributing over 60 per cent to Reckitt's sales in India, with brands such as Harpic are estimated to be contributing over 10-15 per cent to top line. The company did not give a specific sales break-up of the two for the India market. 

Reckitt also said its focus on the herbal health category was growing in India with the launch of a new herbal range under Strepsils, a popular brand of throat lozenges.

In January this year, Reckitt had put in place a new operating structure, which saw two business units — RB Heath and RB Hygiene Home — come into force. The two units have their own dedicated leaders and investments earmarked, the company said, aimed at leveraging the shift in consumer and shopper behaviour.

The new operating structure saw Dettol and Strepsils apart from Durex, Scholl and Veet, all known in India, falling under the RB Health unit, while Harpic as well as Lysol and Finish, also available in India, part of the hygiene home business. The two divisions contributed 68 per cent and 32 per cent respectively to Reckitt's overall top line in the second quarter. 

For the April-June period, healthcare saw an overall like-for-like sales growth of 3 per cent, while hygiene home saw a like-for-like sales growth of 4 per cent, Reckitt said. At a group level, like-for-like sales growth was 4 per cent in the second quarter, leaping 7 percent for the infant-formula business, it added. 

Apart from lifting the outlook for comparable sales in the future, Reckitt said it was increasing its target for net revenue growth to 14-15 per cent for the year (it follows a January-December accounting period) versus 13-14 per cent earlier.

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