Newell Brands CEO on ‘turning a corner’ after earnings beat

Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi, Julie Hyman, and Myles Udland speak with Newell Brands CEO Ravi Saligram about the company’s latest earnings report, and future outlook.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: From the outside looking in, COVID infections are picking up across the country. People are still eating food at home. Take us through what you’re seeing in the business right now.

RAVI SALIGRAM: Yeah, Brian. We saw in third quarter seven of our businesses experiencing sales growth, six consumption growth. We had a great Amazon Prime Day in October. And consumption is still continuing to increase. So clearly, the at-home trends are continuing.

And through our innovations, we’re continuing to drive. We had a fantastic third quarter, up 7.2% in terms of sales growth– first time since 2017. So I’m very excited for our teams, for our people that we’re, I think, finally beginning to turn the corner with Newell Brands. And going back to those 1994 days, hopefully, when Rubbermaid was Fortune’s most admired. So let’s see if we can get the company to those glory days.

JULIE HYMAN: Ravi, it’s Julie here. It’s great to see you. You guys don’t just make Rubbermaid, of course. You make a lot of Tupperware products as well. And a lot of people, as you know, are cooking at home. What [INAUDIBLE] do you think that [INAUDIBLE]?

RAVI SALIGRAM: Julie, I think, look, it’s an interesting thing– and great to be here. It started first with hygiene factors. People were worried about COVID, didn’t want to go to restaurants, didn’t want to bring takeout, and started cooking at home. That became more of a hobby.

And now you have the advent of the home chef. And a lot of people are taking great pride. And things that you would never think, bread-making at home– so there is just so much going on that I think some of these trends will stay. And we really feel good about it. And our products– whether it’s appliances, whether it is storage containers, our FoodSaver brand– we’re launching an innovation, VS3000, which is for marinated delicate sensitive foods.

Ball– I love that brand. It is having so many new users, bringing in millennial users. That brand is up 60% in sales here today, as people are finding new uses for it– not just for marinating, et cetera. So I think you’re seeing trends across. And then we see that hygiene factors roll over into our commercial business, where we’ll put out now gloves. We have things like sanitizers.

Our dispensers, our washroom and sanitizing dispensers saw 1 million units in third quarter, up 5x versus a year ago. So I think exciting trends.

Look, we do want COVID to be over. But we want some of these trends to stay. And I think we’re driving innovations that’ll continue to leverage these occasions as we go forward.

MYLES UDLAND: Ravi, on the call you guys talked a bit about the success you’re seeing on Amazon, like with Prime Days benefiting you there. Can you tell us a bit about that relationship and how you think about that for Newell going forward?

RAVI SALIGRAM: Myles, I think look, we’ve got a terrific relationship with Amazon, as we do with a lot of our major retailers, including Walmart and Target, and so on. So with Amazon, we’ve really built great e-commerce capabilities. And our e-com online sales this year, both in the quarter and year-to-date, are up 40%.

Our online penetration, Myles, was 21%. This is 21% of total global sales. It is double that of 2018. So as we are building those capabilities for a great partner for Amazon, great Amazon Prime Day– a little tidbit, what do you think sold a lot in Prime Day for Newell Brands? Toddler car seats.

BRIAN SOZZI: Ravi, how committed are you– first of all, is the pen business– will that go extinct? And how committed are you to turning that brand around? Look at me. I’m not using a pen anymore. I’m writing on a digital tablet.

RAVI SALIGRAM: Yeah. Brian, here’s my pen. This is my beautiful new Sharpie S Gel. It is flying off the shelves. Share in gel pens up 900 points. Share in pens up 300 points.

So look, innovation– there’s a lot of people who like the touch and feel of pens. And our writing business is not just pens. We have labelers– Dymo. And as people are doing a lot of shipping– small businesses love Dymo. And it is just– we can’t make enough of it.

So I am very positive about our writing business. Very profitable business. Hey, is there a little temporary lull because of stay-at-home, because people are working from home or schools are online? Yes. But we are also imagining a digital future for this business, completely looking at new things.

And there are some basic fundamentals, like stay-at-home activities. Our Slime brand had done amazingly well. So we’re now looking at a new innovation coming forward. Very positive about this business in the long-term.

Look, I was at OfficeMax, so I know a lot of the categories from the retailer side. This business was strong then. It’s strong now. It’ll continue to be strong in the future.

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