Kimberly Clark (NYSE:KMB), the company behind global consumer brands like Huggies and Kleenex, trailed the market through the first six months of 2018. Shares dropped 13% compared to a 2% uptick in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The slump has pushed the stock into negative territory for the past three-year period even as the broader market climbed 34%.
Like its industry peers, Kimberly Clark is facing major challenges to its business right now. Demand trends are weak in many key markets as customers increasingly opt for private-label brands while shifting more of their shopping to online retailers. That tough selling environment has made it harder to pass along rising material costs, and so gross profit margin fell sharply last quarter even as sales growth sped up slightly.
Kimberly Clark is targeting a 1% sales increase in 2018, which would mark only a modest improvement over the prior year's result. That uptick would still imply market share losses, though.
Meanwhile, its 2018 earnings increase will be driven by cost cuts and an aggressive reorganization initiative, and so the boost isn't likely to spark a stock price rebound. That will depend on management's ability to demonstrate that they've found a path back toward market-leading sales growth trends.