Procter & Gamble has reported a sales boost over the three months from July to September, the first quarter of its financial year, with net sales up 7% to $17.8bn (£13.7bn), while organic sales also grew 7%. Net earnings, meanwhile, were up 13% to $3.62bn.
Grooming, the business sector including Gillette, was once again the weakest performer, with organic sales up 1% but net sales down 2%. But the other four segments achieved strong organic growth, ranging from 5% (baby, feminine and family care) to 10% (beauty).
Speaking on a call to analysts, P&G chief financial officer Jon Moeller said every region of the world had recorded sales of at least 4%. In the US, they grew 6%, and in both China and Japan they grew by double digits.
In Europe, Moeller said sales grew 4% in established markets and 5% in developing markets – but while sales in Germany grew 6%, he said that in the UK and France they grew just 2-3%. After Campaign contacted P&G, a spokeswoman said that organic growth in the UK was in "low single digits".
When asked about P&G’s readiness for a potential slowdown in consumer spending, Moeller responded: "In terms of predicting any kind of consumer acceleration or slowdown, we aren’t in that business."
But he added that the business was "better positioned" to deal with such an event than it had been in 2007, before the last recession, for several reasons: P&G had moved away from "highly discretionary categories", meaning products that consumers might choose to do without; it was better positioned from a "brand advantage standpoint", thanks to its work to improve the "noticeable superiority" of its products; and the company has improved its pricing strategy.