Clorox wipes shortage expected to continue until 2021 as coronavirus drives demand

Clorox, the world’s biggest cleaning products maker, said grocery store shelves won’t be fully stocked with its disinfecting wipes until next year, according to a report on Tuesday. The shortage was attributed to a surge in demand for many of its disinfectant products, which has increased sixfold during the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Benno Dorer told Reuters. “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. A shortage of materials used in making the sanitizing wipes has also caused a slowdown in production. The wipes are typically made with polyester spunlace, a material currently used to make personal protective equipment such as masks and medical gowns Clorox’s expected shortage comes even though the California-based company typically holds excess supply aside for flu seasons, according to the Reuters. In May, he had expected the wipes to be restocked by the summer. “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,” Dorer said. The company reported a 21.9 percent gain in sales for the latest quarter as consumers stocked up on items due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sales in Clorox’s health and wellness segment, which includes disinfecting products in addition to vitamins, rose 33 percent. “Frankly, we thought we would be in a better position by now, but demand in Q4 exceeded our expectations,” Dorer continued during a call with analysts to discuss the company’s earnings, according to Fox 23. “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.” Linda Rendle, a 17-year veteran of the company, is set to be promoted to CEO and elected to the company’s board of directors in September. Dorer will continue serving as the board’s executive chair.

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