The Stationery & Office unit in 3M’s Consumer division achieved organic growth in revenue in the third quarter of 2022.
Q3 sales at Stationery & Office were $335 million (£293 million). This was about 1% lower than last year as reported, but a low single-digit improvement on a constant currency basis. This growth came despite a slow 2022 northern hemisphere back-to-school (BTS) period.
“The BTS season was softer than expected as consumer spending continues to be impacted by ongoing inflationary pressures, along with retailers aggressively addressing elevated inventory levels,” noted 3M CFO Monish Patolawala during the earnings conference call.
Operating margin at the Consumer division was relatively stable at 21.3%. Pricing, spend management and restructuring actions mostly offset headwinds from areas such as raw materials, logistics and manufacturing costs.
At 3M’s Safety & Industrial business group, sales of disposable face masks dropped by around $130 million year on year due to falling demand – something that had been expected.
In terms of trends to watch for in 2023, 3M expects the global supply chain environment to stabilise, and inflationary pressures on raw materials, logistics and labour to ease. Near term, however, it noted “mixed trends and signals across geographies and markets” and is, of course, closely monitoring the geopolitical and economic situation in Europe.