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Kingsford Charcoal Sales Recover, Help Drive Clorox Overperformance

The reports of Kingsford charcoal’s death are greatly exaggerated. While Clorox (Kingsford’s parent company) sounded alarm bells in their previous quarter on losing market share, based on their most recent earnings they have made the necessary changes to recover.

From a top-line perspective, our overdelivery was driven mainly by broad-based, stronger consumption supported both by a resilient consumer and improved supply chain performance as well as better performance in our Kingsford business behind enhanced merchandising.

Kevin Jacobsen, EVP and CFO of Clorox

The quarter ending June 2023 is an important one for Kingsford charcoal. With the start of grilling season, it’s their largest sales quarter.

Typically, our fourth quarter is our highest margin. And that’s particularly because we do an — a disproportionate amount of our Kingsford business in the fourth quarter. I think as you folks know, we sold out 50% at Kingsford in the fourth quarter.

Kevin Jacobsen, EVP and CFO of Clorox

Previously Clorox noted that they made price increases at Kingsford that weren’t made by their competitors. They attributed the price difference as a reason for their loss of share. It appears they were able to manage high sales without reducing their prices.

And if we need to make an adjustment, I think Kingsford is a good example. We did not roll back pricing. So we took pricing. Competition did not follow. We made an adjustment to our plan by putting incremental merchant place. We did not rollback. Our truckload pricing, we continue to hold that, is a good example of how we’re approaching it, that if we see a dynamic in a category we need to react to, we will try to do that in a short-term manner, and maintain the truckload pricing we’ve taken.

Linda Rendle, CEO of Clorox

Kingsford is by far the category share leader, but they continue to face increasing competition. Premium brands like FOGO and Good Charcoal are actively adding stores. It’s not the same environment as it was 10 or even 5 years ago when Kingsford was the only brand on the shelves.

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