its domestic growth over the next five years. “Our research department is optimistic about Carson’s future growth and we have a buy recommendation on the stock right now,” says Webb, who offers that his company contributes a fair amount of its view to Carson’s international prospects.
Carson itself predicts that at least 45% of its sales will be generated on the international market by the year 2001, and already $90 million of the company’s $230 million worth rests in its South African market alone.
Webb warns, however, thee Carson must keep a sharp eye on its domestic expansion goals, with special focus on getting its products to market on time. Late last year, just as retail demand for the company’s products increased due to the Dark & Lovely 25th anniversary marketing strategy, the company had difficulty meeting orders. Though the company was initially successful in getting larger amounts of product shipped, a hurricane shut down its Savannah production facility for two days in September, backlogging orders. The company proved unprepared to divert product from other plants in order to meet immediate domestic market demands. Although the company has since expanded production capacity at its Savannah plant to meet higher market demands, Carson’s success may well lie in its ability to develop backup production facilities at each of its other plants.
The future for Carson Inc., however, is indeed promising. With production facilities around the globe, plans to launch a number of new products this year and net sales forecasted to reach $108 million this year (up nearly $30 million over 1996), Carson is well on its way to becoming the leader in ethnic personal care products.
As Leroy Keith puts it: “This is no longer a little sleepy company in Savannah serving a domestic market.”