Mixed results at P&G as consumers adapt to higher prices

Procter & Gamble reported a dip in quarterly profits Thursday, following a decline in sales as the consumer products giant offset lower volumes with price increases.

Executives described consumers as generally resilient as the maker of Bounty paper towels and Tide clothing detergent reported profits in line with analyst expectations.

Chief Executive Jon Moeller said results were “solid” despite a “very difficult cost and operating environment” in which some raw materials remained under inflationary pressures and the strong dollar stayed a headwind.

Overall profits declined seven percent to $3.9 billion following a one percent drop in sales to $20.8 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Andre Schulten said the alterations in consumer behavior to price hikes has been less significant than in the past, attributing the change in part to P&G’s introduction of “value” versions of well-known products.

These include Charmin Essentials, which sell for $15.67 for 18 “mega rolls” at Walmart, compared with $28 for the “ultra soft” version of the toilet paper.

“Consumers don’t stop washing their hair or doing their laundry,” Schulten said on a conference call with reporters. “And within our brands, we’ve provided choices for those consumers who are more value conscious.”

In fabric care, price increases boosted organic sales, but the company cited volume declines in Europe due to increased pricing.

In health care, volumes were hit by the loss of sales in Russia and Covid-19 disruptions in China, but a severe cough and cold season boosted volumes of some products.

Schulten said the company had announced additional price increases “over the next couple of months” and expects consumers to remain resilient.

“We are quite confident that consumers are going to hold up well over the next few quarters,” he said.

Shares of P&G fell 2.6 percent to $141.70 in pre-market trading.

© Agence France-Presse

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