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Dow Jones Newswires: Clorox annual earnings forecast trimmed as inflation takes a bite

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Clorox Co. swung to a quarterly profit and reported stronger-than-expected 2% sales growth in the March quarter, but cut profit projections for the year, citing commodity and manufacturing and logistics costs.

Clorox
CLX,
-0.13%

reported a third-quarter profit of $150 million, or $1.21 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $61 million, or 49 cents a share. Last year’s results reflected a non-cash impairment related to the company’s vitamins, minerals and supplements business.

On an adjusted basis, profit fell to $1.31 a share from $1.62 a share a year ago. Net sales rose to $1.81 billion from $1.78 billion a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a profit of 77 cents a share, or 92 cents a share as adjusted, and $1.79 billion in sales.

It now expects to make $3.60 to $3.85 a share for the year, or $4.05 to $4.30 a share on an adjusted basis. It had previously projected an annual profit of $3.80 to $4.05 a share, or $4.25 to $4.50 a share as adjusted.

It said it still expects net sales for the year to decline by 1% to 4%.

Higher commodity, manufacturing and logistics costs are expected to take a higher toll on profit margins, driving a roughly 8% decline in gross margin for the year, Clorox said. It had earlier projected a roughly 7.5% decline.

“While cost inflation continues to increase and uncertainty remains, we’re seeing the strength and resiliency of our brands driving benefits across the business, and the actions we’re taking to rebuild margin are gaining momentum,” Chief Executive Linda Rendle said in a statement.

Shares fell more than 3% in after-hours trading Monday.

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

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