Clorox wipes shortage expected to last until next year

Nation/world
This July 15, 2011, file photo shows Clorox brand products line the shelf of a supermarket in the East Village neighborhood of New York. A handful of companies are rising to new highs even as stock markets around the world tumble on worries about a rapidly spreading virus. Clorox is close to an all-time high after jumping Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, amid expectations that more homes and hospitals will use its disinfecting wipes, for example. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

This July 15, 2011, file photo shows Clorox brand products line the shelf of a supermarket in the East Village neighborhood of New York. A handful of companies are rising to new highs even as stock markets around the world tumble on worries about a rapidly spreading virus. Clorox is close to an all-time high after jumping Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, amid expectations that more homes and hospitals will use its disinfecting wipes, for example. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Clorox, the world’s biggest maker of disinfectant cleaning materials, said consumers will continue to see a shortage of its wipes and other products into 2021 because of overwhelming demand during the pandemic.

While all kinds of disinfectant products have been flying off store shelves since March, wipes have been in especially high demand with consumers.

Clorox, which dominates the $1 billion disinfectant wipes market with a 45% market share, said it has aggressively ramped up production for its cleaning products, but it still won’t be enough.

“Given the fact that cold and flu sits in the middle of the year, and then we expect the pandemic to be with us for the entirety of the year, it will take the full year to get up to the supply levels that we need to be at,” Clorox President and CEO-elect Linda Rendle said Monday in a call with analysts to discuss the company’s earnings.

Separately, Clorox’s outgoing CEO Benno Dorer told Reuters that Clorox wipes, specifically, will be in short supply until next year.

“Frankly, we thought we would be in a better position by now, but demand in Q4 exceeded our expectations,” Dorer told analysts. “We’re certainly not at all happy with our service levels for our retail customers on many products. We have a high sense of urgency on this with all hands on deck.”

Still, the pandemic-fueled run on disinfectant products boosted overall company sales by 22% in the quarter.

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