Procter & Gamble Co beat Wall Street expectations for quarterly profit on Friday as it reported its best U.S. sales growth in decades thanks to consumers stockpiling cleaning essentials in lockdowns against the coronavirus.
Laying out details of a huge surge in demand for hand soaps, Tide antibacterial spray and other detergents, Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said U.S. consumers stuck in their homes were doing more laundry and washing their dishes more often.
Organic sales in the United States grew 10per cent in the company's third quarter to the end of March and global net sales rose about 5per cent to US$17.21 billion.
We're seeing as much as a 20per cent increase in consumption across categories, Moeller told a call with analysts.
One of the world's biggest producers of consumer goods, P&G's results come at a time of booming demand, and profound stress, for grocers and their supply chains.
Supermarkets like Kroger, Costco or Europe's Tesco have seen a surge in sales in the month of March, but have also had to introduce limits on the number of items per customer or special hours for senior citizens.
P&G said that while everyday essentials have been in demand, sales of beauty and grooming products have dwindled as people stay indoors.
Sales at units that make well-known brands such as Bounty paper towels, Tampax tampons, Charmin toilet paper, and Pampers diapers all rose between 6per cent and 8per cent.
The net sales figures were slightly below analysts' expectations of US$17.46 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Excluding one-time items, however, P&G earned US$1.17 per share, beating estimates by 4 cents.
At a time when many companies are refusing to forecast results for the rest of the year in the face of an oncoming recession, the company cut its full-year sales growth target to 3per cent-4per cent from its prior forecast of 4per cent-5per cent.
It said that allowed for currency fluctuation; the dollar, whose strength weakens the value of P&G's foreign sales, rose sharply in the second half of March as investors sought the security of the U.S. currency in a brutal global market selloff.