Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) raised its full-year sales forecast on April 20, even as consumer demand for cleaning and personal care products remained stronger than expected despite higher prices, sending its shares up more than 2%.
As soaring commodity prices and supply chain constraints push inflation ever higher, squeezing household budgets, according to analysts, despite P&G’s sales growth being at its strongest in at least 15 years, there are concerns that consumers will start to swap branded items for cheaper own-label products.
For now, however, consumers were switching to better-value premium products such as higher-priced diapers or single-dose detergents, P&G executives said, adding that they would focus marketing efforts on such offerings.
On a call with analysts, Chief Financial Officer Andre Schulten said:
“We certainly have our eyes wide open and (will) watch for any change in terms of consumer behavior.”
Even though they anticipate consumer demand to subside as the higher prices feed through to shop shelves, executives also announced fresh price hikes in U.S. oral care, home, and feminine products from this summer.
Consumers stored detergents and surface cleaning products such as Tide and Mr. Clean during the coronavirus’ Omicron wave early in the year. This behavior pushed sales in P&G’s home care and fabric unit, which is the company’s biggest segment, 7% higher in its third quarter.
The health care business, which includes brands like Pepto-Bismol and Oral-B, had a 13% surge in sales as well.
Nonetheless, the consumer goods giant cautioned that its annual core earnings per share, which it now expects at the low-end of the 3% to 6% growth that was predicted in January, could be weakened by higher costs.Buy Crypto Now
Procter & Gamble Expects Mixed Fortunes
In China, P&G was forced to shut plants and kept shoppers at home, which executives said had a “significant impact” on consumer demand, as its business was hit by COVID-19 lockdowns.
Full-year profit is expected to be dented by $3.2 billion, compared to a previous forecast of $2.8 billion, by a stronger dollar, as well as surging freight and commodity costs.
Schulten said that because of the Russia-Ukraine war, P&G also took a hit of one penny per share in the third quarter, which will rise to four cents in the fourth quarter. The company is “significantly reducing” its portfolio and halting all new capital investments in Russia to focus on personal care, health, and basic hygiene items.
Schulten said P&G’s business in Ukraine and Russia represented 1.5% to 2% of its net sales and global profit, before the war. In the quarter that ended March 31, net sales rose 7% to $19.38 billion, according to Refinitiv data, compared to an average analyst estimate of $18.73 billion.
Despite price increases across most of P&G’s product range, total sales volumes climbed 3%. Compared with its previous forecast of a 3% to 4% increase, the company predicts fiscal 2022 sales to rise by 4% to 5%.
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