P&G struggles to lift sales as it refocuses on core

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2015 10:01 AM
P&G struggles to lift sales as it refocuses on core

CINCINNATI (AP) — Procter & Gamble, which is attempting to refocus on core brands and regain its standing as a top competitor, struggled to boost sales in its first quarter.

Even stripping out the effects of the strong dollar, which is weighing on all multinationals, organic sales declined 1 percent.

Quarterly revenue for the company that makes products such as Tide, Pampers and Charmin declined to $16.53 billion from $18.77 billion. That's short of the $17 billion that analyst had projected, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

Procter & Gamble Co. has been cutting costs and slimming down the number of items it sells, focusing instead on 10 categories of goods and about 65 brands where it is strongest.

But that is proving to be a painful process. Organic sales, which are closely watched by investors, declined in three of the company's five segments, and they were flat in the remaining two.

"Top-line results were soft, as expected, given significant foreign exchange impacts, our deliberate choices to exit unprofitable businesses and the early stage of the improvement plans we're implementing in our largest categories and markets," said CEO A.G. Lafley. "We continue to make strong progress on productivity savings, which will fuel smart investments in top-line growth. We expect second quarter organic sales growth to be positive and to further strengthen in the back half as we invest to build awareness and trial of our consumer-preferred products and brands."

For the three months ended Sept. 30, the company earned $2.6 billion, or 91 cents per share. A year earlier it earned $1.99 billion, or 69 cents per share.

Excluding one-time gains and costs, earnings were 98 cents per share, 4 cents better analyst projections.

Procter & Gamble now expects fiscal 2015 earnings of $3.76 per share. Its previous outlook was for earnings of $4.02 per share. The Cincinnati company said that its planned exit from several beauty categories impacted the guidance.

The company said increased volatility in market growth and foreign exchange rates has made earnings harder to forecast.

Procter & Gamble's stock, however, rose $1.26 to $74.85 in early trading.

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This story has been corrected to remove reference to the company's outlook for the year. The figure published by Procter & Gamble was a revised 2015 fiscal year figure for purposes of comparison as it exits some operations.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on PG at http://www.zacks.com/ap/PG

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Keywords: Procter & Gamble, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings