In the year 1913, five businessmen from Oakland, California invested $100.00 each to come up with the Electro-Alkaline Company, which made the first Clorox Bleach. This new product was derived from a technological process that converted ocean water brine into bleach. This process was very advanced. The first Clorox-liquid bleach came in five-gallon containers. It was labeled “made by electricity” because of the advanced process used to create it.
In 1914, Clorox is produced in 21 percent sodium hydrochloride industrial concentration. The first year of operation the Electro-Alkaline Company only made $7,500.00 and depended highly on loans to meet its expenses and produce new product. This could have been due to the packaging or the high concentration of sodium hydrochloride.
The Clorox brand trademark was adopted in 1914.
In 1916, the company produced a new solution that would contain only 5 percent sodium hydrochloride at the suggestion of general manager William Murray’s wife Anne. This new solution was packaged in amber glass pink bottles and promoted for home use as a disinfectant, stain remover, laundry aide, and deodorant. Free samples were distributed at Oakland grocery stores and peddled locally door to door. Since the sales were local, World War I did not have an impact on the Clorox Company sales at the time.
In 1917, the company utilized the California State Fair to introduce Clorox to thousands of consumers and farmers.
In 1922, the company changed its name to Clorox Chemical Corporation. Then in 1929, the company went public when it re-located in Delaware as Clorox Chemical Company. At that same time, 200,000 shares of stock were issued and traded in the San Francisco Stock Exchange.
Clorox was the countries number one liquid bleach company in the 1930’s. It expanded its distribution and manufacturing capabilities nationwide as the demand for the product sold in the amber glass bleach bottle grew.
Wartime was hard on the company, which had to decrease production because of the decrease in availability of chlorine instead of lowering the sodium hypochlorite concentration in its product. Even though they did not produce as much product, what they did produce remained at the same high quality, which kept customers happy. Many contracts were terminated because of the short supply of the product. These changes were harmful during wartime however once the war was over, customers remained loyal to the company that did not jeopardize its product and continued to sell high quality bleach.
The Clorox Company still produced just the one product by the 1950’s. However, it was the largest selling household bleach product around. In 1957, Proctor and Gamble purchased the Clorox Company and tried to change its name to The Clorox Company. The Federal Trade Commission believed this would create a monopoly of liquid bleach products and claimed the company was violating the Clayton Act. The case was brought up before the US Supreme court where Proctor and Gamble was ordered to separate itself from the Clorox Company. The Clorox Company became independent again by 1969.
Once Clorox regained its independence in 1969, its new president Robert B Shetterly realized the marketing environment had changed and it was time for the Clorox Company to develop more products. They purchased and developed many products and companies such as Shelco the manufacture of the aerosol oven cleaner Jimfoam and Jiffee Chemical Corporation, which manufactured Liquid Plumber. Clorox 2 was placed on the market in 1970 as the first dry non-chlorine bleach product.
Since it began, Clorox has grown from a small company manufacturing one product to a large company manufacturing many products and services including Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products.
Things have not always been easy for the Clorox Company. Proctor and Gamble became their biggest competition in 1982 when the company began testing its own bleach product, which prompted Clorox to produce a new bleach product called Wave. Vibrant never made it past the testing phase it did promote other companies to come up products that would compete with Clorox. Proctor and Gamble battled with Clorox for dominance of the consumer market for many years, which resulted in some income loss, that were overcome but not easily.
In the November 2, 2011 First Quarter Fiscal Year 2012 Earnings Release Conference Call, Vice President Lawrence Peirros announces that the Clorox Company volume increase of 2% and sales increase of 3 % for the first quarter of 2012 making it a solid start to the fiscal year of 2012. Product pricing and innovation have been the driving force for the company’s growth.
Inflation did put pressure on the business but the company stood up to the challenge and overcame the difficult economic environment.
The track channel share was slightly down in the first quarter but the track channels are only 1/3 of the company’s sales.
In the stock market’s 52-week span in the retail outlet, base the company shares grew and held in all categories. The company shares stand at an all time high of 27%, which has increased since 2008 1.4 share points.
Even though the U.S. economy is weak, the Category consumption trends are improving. The past 52-week period retail sales were down 1% which is far better than the 2% they were down a year ago.
The company has seen some decreased earnings in many of its areas due to the weak economy but is making changes to compensate for the weak economy. They plan to spend more on selling and investments. They are pleased with the overall first quarter and confident in the future of the company.
The Clorox Company has been around through two wars and many trying economic times. The company has been able to make necessary changes during these times so that it does not decrease the quality of its product and remains on top when the economic crisis is over. The Clorox Company is an excellent company to invest in because of its sustainability through hard economic times.