Demand for condoms and sex toys boosts SSL

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The Independent Online

The strong growth in profits came on the back of a 4.6 per cent rise in underlying sales. Although sales of Scholl shoes fell 3 per cent, this was more than offset by growth of more than 9 per cent in the sales of SSL's Durex condoms and sex toys range, while revenues from Scholl footcare products rose more than 11 per cent.

The company said sales in the Scholl shoes division had now stabilised, and even returned to growth during the second half.

Garry Watts, the chief executive, said he was now confident of the medium-term prospects for the company, forecasting double-digit growth in operating profits in its current financial year, from April, and also in the two subsequent years. "Sales have grown strongly, margins have improved; we've launched new products, increased investment behind the brands and controlled costs," Mr Watts said.

He said the expansion of the Durex Play range to include massage oils, sensation-enhancing condoms and vibrating sex toys, had "caught the public's imagination", playing a big part in the company's recent successes.

Shares in SSL closed up 12.25p at 289.25p.