- Consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser has reported group like-for-like growth of 13.3% to £3.5bn in the first quarter following strong demand for its hygiene and health products such as Dettol due to Covid-19.

It announced that in its hygiene business, like-for-like growth was 12.8% in the first quarter of 2020, with strong growth in most markets, including double-digit growth in North America, Europe/ANZ, and Latin America.

In health, the company saw like-for-like growth of 13.6% during the quarter, which it attributed to strong demand for Dettol, over the counter and other health in North America, Europe and Australia, although this was partially offset by lower growth in developing markets.

Reckitt Benckiser reported strong demand in the first quarter for Dettol, Lysol, Mucinex, Nurofen and VMS brands and said it had tried to sustain supply despite the challenging conditions in many of its markets.

In its e-commerce channel, net revenues were up over 50% in the first quarter as a result of the strong growth in both hygiene and health. This was particularly the case in March as consumers moved online during 'stay at home', it said.

Chief executive Laxman Narasimhan said: 'We have seen strong consumer demand, particularly in March and April but the split between defensive buying and higher levels of underlying consumption is unclear. At this stage, it is uncertain how quickly this will change in the months ahead.

'Improved penetration and usage, particularly for products like Dettol and Lysol, may well sustain, although we will likely see some unwinding of 'pantry load' as we work our way through the crisis.'

Narasimhan added that the near-term operational challenges to meet additional demand and handle lockdown conditions are likely to continue for some time.

Story provided by