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Charmin Sensitive part of Better Homes and Gardens’ annual Best New Products Awards

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Charmin Sensitive was voted the best new bathroom tissue of 2011 in a study conducted by BrandSpark International and published in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s third annual Best New Products Awards issue.

The third annual Best New Products Awards are part of the magazine’s June issue. Charmin Sensitive will be featured among the 42 winning consumer products in the categories of health and beauty, food and household care.

"It’s great to hear the product has been so well-received by consumers," said Hailee Hoffman, brand manager for Charmin Sensitive. "Being voted the best new bathroom tissue lets us know that this product delivers a level of quality and comfort for consumers. Each roll contains a touch of soothing lotion with aloe and vitamin E, providing a gentle and comfortable clean."

For a complete list of the 42 winning products, visit BestNewProductAwards.com.

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Walmart Q1 EPS beats guidance, but U.S. comps still a sore spot

BY DSN STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart reported first-quarter earnings that were above the company’s guidance, reflecting stability and strength in global operations, according to company president and CEO Mike Duke.

Walmart’s net income was $3.4 billion, or 98 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $3.3 billion, or 87 cents per diluted share.

Walmart reported net sales for the first quarter of $103.4 billion, an increase of 4.4% from $99.1 billion in the first quarter last year. Net sales for the quarter included a currency exchange rate benefit of $1.3 billion.

Achieving positive same-store sales remains a challenge at Walmart U.S., as this division reported a 1.1% decline due to a decrease in traffic. Though this was within the company’s guidance range, Duke said there is room for improvement.

"We recognize we still have work to do, and comp sales growth remains the greatest priority for me and the entire Walmart U.S. team. The good news is that the plan Bill Simon and his team are executing is gaining traction. We’re focused on delivering everyday low prices and a wide assortment," Duke said.

The company said it expects U.S. same-store sales for the second quarter to range from -1% to 1%.

Walmart had more success with its Sam’s Club division, which reported that comparable sales, without fuel, increased 4.2% for the same period, which was 120 basis points above guidance. The company is expecting Sam’s Club’s comp sales, without fuel, for the second quarter to increase between 3% and 5%.

"Our second quarter is under way, and we expect our strong sales momentum to continue across grocery, home and apparel," said Brian Cornell, Sam’s Club president and CEO.

At Walmart’s international operations, net sales were up 11.5% to almost $28 billion, with all countries except Japan showing sales increases. According to the company, the March 11 earthquake and tsunami negatively affected sales in Japan.

"International remains the key growth driver for our company, and the segment is seeing continued growth through a combination of comp sales and new stores," Duke said. "Mexico, China and Chile had the highest percentage sales increases for the first quarter, compared with last year."

For the second quarter, Walmart is expecting to diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.05 and $1.10, compared with last year’s reported EPS of 97 cents. The company also expects to see continued growth in e-commerce.

"The recent acquisition of Kosmix is now integrated into @Walmartlabs in Silicon Valley and allows us to expand our capabilities in the online social commerce environment," Duke said. "[Last week], we announced that we are acquiring a minority stake in Yihaodian, one of the leading online retailers in China. We expect ongoing activity in the e-commerce area around the world."

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Pharmaca teams up with Own, GoodGuide to extend sun care campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

BOULDER, Colo. — Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy on Tuesday announced a new partnership with Own bio-activating skin care and GoodGuide.

Launching May 16, the Safe Sun campaign will use social media to help educate consumers and answer questions about best practices in sun care on the Facebook pages of Pharmaca, GoodGuide and Own.

The page will be dedicated to education about sun care, including informational videos exclusively made for the campaign, articles by GoodGuide and Own experts, quizzes and more. The Facebook pages also will include daily sun care tips and information, and participants will be entered to win daily, weekly and grand prize drawings.

This type of education is more important than ever to help clear up confusion over sun care, Pharmaca stated. The uncertainty comes over such ingredients as oxybenzone — a common factor in sunscreen — being listed among Time magazine’s Top 10 common household toxins last year, or even recent data from the Food and Drug Administration that showed that retinyl palmitate, also found in some sun care products, can accelerate the development of skin cancer instead of prevent it. People want to know which types of sunscreen are best, how often to use it and whether their favorite sunscreens are safe.

“We’re looking forward to demystifying this issue by leveraging the experts at GoodGuide and Own,” stated Laura Coblentz, Pharmaca’s VP marketing and innovation. “This partnership is a great complement to our mission of offering the safest, most effective products alongside a wealth of health information that allows our customers to choose the best product for them.”

Only Facebook fans of Pharmaca, GoodGuide or Own will have access to the educational events and materials. By participating in the campaign, fans will be eligible on a daily basis to win Own Sun Care products, as well as the grand prize that will be announced on June 30 — a $250 gift card valid at any Pharmaca retail location.

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