September 29, 2017 / 6:49 PM / 2 years ago

BIC shaves 2017 sales growth forecast on tough U.S. razor market

(Reuters) - Ballpoint pens and razor maker BIC (BICP.PA) cut its 2017 sales forecast on Friday, blaming a worse than expected performance in the United States and weak Latin American markets.

The BIC logo is seen at the BIC ballpoint pens factory in Montevrain, France, October 27, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The shaver market in the U.S., where BIC competes with Wilkinson Sword-maker Edgewell Personal Care (EPC.N) and Gillette, has seen pricing pressure intensify as a result of direct-to-consumer online sales and aggressive loyalty programmes.

The total United States wet shave market is down 9.1 percent in value on a year-to-date basis, according to market research firm IRI.

BIC, which also makes lighters, said it now expected underlying net sales growth to be slightly below two percent this year, compared with a previous forecast of between three and four percent.

“The U.S. shaver undergoing tremendous competitive pressure and disruption all year,” Chief Operating Officer Gonzalve Bich said during a call.

“Private label pressure, driven by Edgewell, continues in retail.”

However, Bich said that BIC had not made any “major revisions” to its pricing in the United States.

In the United States, the lighter market was affected by several major customers reducing inventories, the company said in a statement.

Although BIC had predicted lower consumption in Brazil, the decline was larger than expected, which led retailers to cut inventories.

The company reiterated its forecast for a decline of less than 100 basis points in the margin on its normalized income from operations.

Reporting by Camille Raynaud and Alan Charlish; Editing by Mark Potter and Elaine Hardcastle

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