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Dental sales at Henry Schein drop by over 40%


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Financial results for the second quarter of this year show the extent to which dental care has been disrupted by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. (Image: rafapress/Shutterstock)
Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

Thu. 6. August 2020


MELVILLE, N.Y., U.S.: In May, Henry Schein Executive Chairman and CEO Stanley M. Bergman described the SARS-CoV-2 crisis as “one of the most trying moments in modern history.” As the company announced its earnings for the second quarter, the monetary cost to Henry Schein was revealed as significant. Dental sales fell by 41.2% despite a 30.0% increase in sales of personal protective equipment (PPE) to dentists.

Bergman told investors in a webcast conference call that the pandemic had had a lesser impact on the company during the three-month period ended June 27 than it had expected, owing to broad and successful cost-cutting measures and recovery in global health and dental markets.

Dental sales of $941.3 million (€799.3 million) during the quarter represented a fall of $658.7 million, or 41.2%, on the $1.6 billion in dental sales that the company reported for the same period in 2019. Dental consumables and merchandise sales in North America were down by 47.5%, and dental equipment sales declined by 44.9%. International dental sales declined by 29.5%, and this included a 29.2% decline in consumables and merchandise and a 30.5% decline in dental equipment.

PPE sales to the global dental industry were up by 30%. Prior to the pandemic, PPE sales as a percentage of total dental sales were in the mid-single digits, and this increased to around 11% by the end of the second quarter.

Sales in the larger medical category amounted to $617.8 million in the quarter. This represented a decrease of 11.4%, despite being boosted by a 140.0% increase in global PPE sales in the medical category.

The company posted an operating loss of $7.4 million for the quarter, compared with an operating profit of $162.2 million for the same period last year.

How are dental markets recovering?

Bergman said: “While patient volumes are still below pre-COVID-19 levels, the recovery in the dental and medical end markets is progressing at a far more rapid pace than we had originally anticipated. We are, of course, closely monitoring these trends, in particular, because a number of U.S. states and a certain number of international geographies are experiencing an uptick in diagnosed COVID-19 cases. While this is leading to stricter social distancing requirements set in certain places, we have not, at this point, seen dental and medical practices closing in any meaningful way despite the recent rise in cases.”

Investors were told that all of the dental markets that Henry Schein serves showed improvements in sales during the second half of the second quarter, except the U.K., since dental practices in that country had resumed elective treatment later than those in other countries had done.

China recovered from the beginning of April, and Germany and Austria were less impacted by lockdowns. A number of other international geographies began to improve towards the middle of the quarter with the Netherlands, France, Italy, New Zealand and Australia recovering first, followed by Spain and Brazil. And then, of course, the U.S. and, at the end of that, Canada, which is lagging the U.S. by about a month or so,” Bergman continued.

He added that one of the most critical issues that the company faced during the quarter was that of meeting the heightened demand for PPE. The company had expanded its sourcing of the most needed PPE categories and had worked to shorten lead times in product delivery from suppliers’ factories. “As a result, we have significantly expanded our PPE supply chain capabilities and availability of product,” Bergman said.

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