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The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. reported record quarterly sales of $1.2 billion, an increase of 16 percent on worldwide shipment increases of 21 percent.
"We remain pleased with our strong top-line growth and the continued vitality of our core gum business worldwide," said Bill Wrigley, Jr., chairman, president and CEO. "Given the dynamic, competitive nature of the marketplace and the need to improve margins, we are taking aggressive steps to improve our performance to ensure that more of that top-line success translates into stronger bottom-line results.
"We are already underway with our plans to focus investments where they will have the most impact, streamline operations and better align our management team so that we can fully leverage our global presence and market share leadership positions."
In the U.S. market, Wrigley's share of gum remains above 60 percent and near its all-time high, but following its 8 share point gain over the past five years, the company is seeing stepped-up new product and promotional activities by competitors.
"We are taking a very intentional approach to addressing both opportunities and challenges in the U.S., and are confident in the strength and quality of product and marketing initiatives that are currently rolling out into the marketplace," added Wrigley.
Global gum shipments were up 8 percent in the quarter and the company gained gum share in a number of key competitive countries, such as France and Canada; extended share leadership in the key geography of China; and is gaining business momentum in India.
The Altoids, Life Savers, Creme Savers and Sugus brands were acquired by Wrigley last summer as part of its strategy to become a broader-based company. Those brands have added critical mass to the company's overall non-gum confectionery business -- that now accounts for just over 10 percent of worldwide sales -- and their integration into overall Wrigley operations is nearing completion.
"As we have previously stated, in addition to being a period of tough comparisons given the outstanding results for the first half of 2005, the first half of 2006 has involved continuing integration and realignment of and investment in these acquired brands in terms of production capacity, distribution footprint and merchandising and marketing support," noted Wrigley. "Over the past 12 months, we have taken the necessary steps to establish a base of business upon which we can build. As 2006 progresses, we anticipate improved momentum for these brands in response to our steady investment in innovation and brand support behind them."