Clorox Wipe Supplies Will Remain Low Into 2021

The manufacturer says it is struggling to keep up with a six-fold increase in demand.

August 06, 2020

CHICAGO—Grocery shelves won't be fully stocked with Clorox’s disinfecting wipes until next year, Benno Dorer, CEO of Clorox has announced.

According to the New York Times, Clorox, the world’s biggest cleaning products maker, continues to struggle with a huge demand for its top product during the pandemic. California-based Clorox typically holds aside excess supply for flu seasons, but since the pandemic began, the company hasn’t been able to keep up with a six-fold increase in demand for many of its disinfectants.

The company is currently understocked on many items, including Glad trash bags and Burt's Bees lip balm. Supply of most products, like liquid bleach, will improve dramatically over the next four to six months, but not wipes. “Disinfecting wipes, which are the hottest commodity in the business right now, will probably take longer because it's a very complex supply chain to make them,” Dorer said.

Many companies in the industry make wipes with polyester spunlace, a material also used to make personal protective equipment like masks, medical gowns and medical wipes. Currently, it is in short supply. “That entire supply chain is stressed. We feel like it’s probably going to take until 2021 before we’re able to meet all the demand that we have,” he said.

Clorox has made “major” capital investments so it can ramp up output each quarter, including simplifying its disinfectant product line-up at factories that run 24/7 every day of the year. Clorox began outsourcing some manufacturing this year to third-party suppliers and is looking for more.

On Monday, Clorox reported fourth-quarter sales and earnings that widely topped analysts’ expectations, driven by a 33% increase in revenue from its health and wellness business, which makes cleaning products and accounts for more than 40% of total sales.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.

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