US confectionery giant Wrigley has earmarked the upcoming official domestic launch of its “5” brand – and a wave of new products in the UK – to further drive the company forward in the second half of the year.

Wrigley was looking forward to the second half of 2007 after posting a set of robust results for the first six months of the year.

Earlier today (30 July), Wrigley recorded a 20% leap in first-half profits, buoyed by robust international sales. Revenue climbed 15% as Wrigley’s international sales continued to grow, up 14% during the second quarter thanks to growth in Europe and Asia.

A Wrigley spokesman said the launch of 5 in North America next month would further grow the company’s sales on the continent, which rose by 3% during the first-half despite a dip in volumes.

“The US is the largest per capita consumption market for gum and it’s been growing at well above average pace in the US over the last few years,” the spokesman told just-food. “5 is a new, sugar-free brand from Wrigley. It’s a stick brand with enhanced flavour duration and a unique twist to the flavour.”

Across the Atlantic, Wrigley admitted that UK sales had slowed during the second quarter but insisted its performance there was its best in the last three years.

Wrigley is currently rolling out launch a “second wave” of new products in the UK, including Extra Fusion in August (see pictured). 

The spokesman said that, despite increased local competition from Cadbury Schweppes, the world’s largest gum producer is upbeat about its prospects in the market. “We’ve seen the Cadbury share start to tail off,” he added.

Russia and Eastern Europe drove Wrigley’s sales growth in Europe; the company also saw “double-digit” gains in Poland, Spain and Germany. Wrigley’s Asian revenues jumped almost 16% thanks to strength in China.

On a group basis, Wrigley posted operating profit of US$473.1m for the six months to the end of June. Revenue climbed to $2.6bn.

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