The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continued to have an impact on social and economic activities and the lives of people around the world. Even as vaccinations progressed in countries around the world, the number of infections continue to fluctuate, and the business environment remained unclear.
During the period of January to September 2021, the household and personal care products market in Japan, which is the Kao Group's key market, began to show signs of recovery, but shrank due to repeated resurgences of infections and the absence of the increase in demand that arose in the previous year. In addition, the cosmetics market shrank, and recovery lacked force due to the substantial impact of the state of emergency, which continued in various regions of Japan.
Amid these circumstances, net sales increased 1.6% to 1,021.0 billion yen. On a like-for-like basis, net sales decreased 0.4%. Operating income was 109.0 billion yen, a decrease of 11.1 billion yen, and income before income taxes was 113.5 billion yen, a decrease of 5.6 billion yen. Net income was 83.4 billion yen, a decrease of 4.0 billion yen.
In the Consumer Products Business, sales decreased 1.5% to 822.4 billion yen. On a like-for-like basis, sales decreased 3.1%. In the first nine months of the fiscal year, the business environment remained severe due to higher raw material prices and the impact of the pandemic. Particularly in the third quarter, there was a substantial impact from a resurgence of infections in Japan and ASEAN, in addition to the impact of higher raw material prices. Amid the impact of the absence of the special demand, mainly for hygiene-related products, that arose in the previous year, the Kao Group concentrated investment on core brands, promoted digital transformation to address new lifestyles and stepped up e-commerce, among other initiatives.
As a result of the above factors, sales in Japan decreased 5.8% to 551.8 billion yen. In Asia, sales increased 5.3% to 154.8 billion yen. On a like-for-like basis, sales decreased 0.4%.
In the Americas, sales increased 12.9% to 71.3 billion yen. On a like-for-like basis, sales increased 10.5%. In Europe, sales increased 14.3% to 44.4 billion yen. On a like-for-like basis, sales increased 5.5%.
Operating income decreased 14.3 billion yen to 85.0 billion yen.
Although the business environment is expected to remain uncertain due to factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about rising raw material prices, the Kao Group aims to achieve the figures announced in its forecast by steadily implementing the strategies of the Kao Group Mid-term plan 2025 "K25" covering the five years starting this fiscal year. Therefore, there is no change from the forecast of consolidated results announced on August 3, 2021.
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