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Kodak's U.S. Film Sales Fall as Fuji Makes Gains

November 29, 2000|From Bloomberg News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak Co.'s U.S. film sales dropped 4.5% in the four weeks ended Nov. 5 as the world's largest photography company lost market share to rival Fuji Photo Film Co., analysts said.

Kodak's share of the U.S. film market dropped by 2.3% in the period, while Fuji gained 1.8%, Jonathan Rosenzweig, an analyst with Salomon Smith Barney Inc., wrote in a report. Analysts estimate that Kodak is the largest seller of film in the U.S., with about 65% of sales, and Fuji accounts for about 25%.

An abrupt slowdown in September film sales prompted Kodak last month to lower its fourth-quarter profit outlook to below what analysts had estimated. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is trying to maintain leadership in film and paper sales while investing in digital products and services to stay at the top of the photography and imaging market.

"It just continues what had been a pretty sad saga for this company," said Lynn Yturri, manager of the $800 million One Group Equity Income Fund in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Kodak shares fell $2.19, or 5%, to close at $41.75 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has dropped 37% this year.

The decline in Kodak's market share may be the result of price increases, said Rosenzweig. Kodak's average aggregate price for film rose by 5.8% year-over-year, while Fuji's rose 0.2%, he said. Fuji film sales increased by 7.7% during the four-week period.

The data used by analysts does not include wholesale club channels, said Kodak spokesman Gerard Meuchner. The company became the exclusive distributor at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club wholesaler stores in May.

Kodak doesn't comment on market share between quarters, Meuchner said, adding that the firm stands by its statement in October that it will hold its U.S. consumer film market share for the year.

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