(Adds details on segments, pricing, background)
By Martinne Geller
LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales growth on Friday, hurt by further weakness in its Scholl footcare business and negative pricing.
Consumer packaged goods makers, under pressure to boost revenue, are having trouble raising prices, due in part to intense competition among big retailers fighting off encroachment from the likes of drug store chains and Amazon.com .
Sector leaders Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Unilever also saw weak pricing growth in the first quarter.
Still, the British maker of Durex condoms, Lysol disinfectant and Mucinex cold medicine stood by its 2018 forecast.
Reckitt said like-for-like sales rose 2 percent in the first quarter, below analysts’ average estimate of 2.6 percent, according to a company-supplied consensus. Volume was up 3 percent, implying that overall pricing was negative.
Health-related products, which make up 62 percent of the business, saw like-for-like sales up just 1 percent, held back by ongoing declines at Scholl, which has been suffering for several quarters in the wake of a failed product launch.
“We are addressing our performance in Scholl through acceleration of our pipeline, penetration improvement programmes and streamlining our range,” Reckitt said in a statement.
Sales in the smaller home and hygiene business rose 4 percent.
Reported sales were 3.11 billion pounds ($4.37 billion), just shy of the 3.12 billion in analysts’ consensus.
The company said it still expects 2018 revenue up 13 to 14 percent, with like-for-like sales up 2 to 3 percent. That would be an improvement from flat sales growth in 2017, due to a spate of issues from a product failure to a cyber attack.
($1 = 0.7111 pounds)
Reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Edmund Blair and Jason Neely