J&J sales drop leads to share prices fall

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Stock market

A drop in domestic sales and negative currency effects pulled Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) consumer sales down for the third quarter.

The results for the New Jersey-headquartered behemoth also suffered on the pharmaceutical side off the back of expiring patents and competition from generics.

Overall sales came in at $15.1bn, a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to the same period last year, with $4bn coming from the consumer segment.

This figure is 2.7 percent lower than the third quarter last year; but according to the company, sales were negatively affected by exchange rates and sales actually grew 1.1 percent, discounting currency effects.

Performance in the segment was buoyed by markets outside of the US, which reported operational sales growth of 5.2 percent. However, this figure was again depressed by negative currency effects.

US skincare positive

Skincare was one of the only consumer business segments that preformed well for the company in the US, bringing in $370m in sales, compared to $358m in the same period last year.

J&J highlighted brands such as Dabao skin care and Aveeno skin care as two top performing product lines.

Baby care, in contrast, suffered significantly during the quarter registering a 10.5 percent drop in sales in the US, and a 6.4 percent drop in international sales, with the total down from $586m to $544m.

The oral care sector performed slightly better, showing a 8.3 percent drop in sales to $187m and the company cited Listerine’s antiseptic mouth rinse as a growth driver.

However, despite the decline in overall sales, net earnings rose 1.1 percent in comparison to the third quarter 2008.

A slightly lower cost for products sold and significantly lower expenses from the quarter ($96m as opposed to $224m from the previous year) contributed to the slight increase in earnings.

In response J&J has raised its earnings guidance for the full year 2009 in the range of $4.54 – $4.59 per share, excluding the impacts of special items.

However, the stock market did not respond so well and the company’s shares fell in a steeper decline than has been seen since April, according to Bloomberg.

Analysts had predicted slightly better results, and share prices fell $1.52, or 2.4 percent, to $61.01 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the news agency reported.

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