Clorox's (CLX 2.07%) business is benefiting from an intense focus on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. The company just announced earnings results for the fiscal third quarter, which included the start of major efforts to combat COVID-19 in economies like the U.S., China, and Europe. Sales and earnings trends shot higher due to the pandemic.
Specifically, organic sales volumes jumped 18%, mainly thanks to surging sales for its Clorox branded disinfecting wipes, sprays, and bleaches. That volume figure was flat in the previous quarter.
Earnings improved at an even faster pace, with gross profit margin jumping to 46.7% of sales from 43.4% a year ago. Clorox generated $806 million of operating cash in the past nine months, up 34% over the prior year period.
"Beyond the extraordinary growth in our disinfecting products," CEO Benno Dorer said in a press release, "we saw broad-based growth across all four segments as our portfolio is uniquely positioned to serve consumers in this unprecedented time."
The company raised its growth outlook to reflect what appear to be sustained demand increases for its cleaning products. Organic sales should rise by between 6% and 8% for the full year, translating into a significant upgrade from the prior forecast of a 1% uptick in fiscal 2020.