P&G raises forecasts as cleaning product sales boom

(Reuters) – Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co PG.N raised its annual sales forecast on Tuesday, as it benefitted from a coronavirus-driven surge in demand which has driven sales of cleaning products as much as 30% higher.

FILE PHOTO: The logo for Procter & Gamble Co. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company’s shares, already up 14% this year, rose almost 2% in early deals after it released numbers that also showed strong gains in sales across most of its divisions.

Overall net sales in the unit which houses brands like Mr Clean and Tide rose 14% in the first quarter, as consumers stocked up on anything they could get their hands on to clean their homes and potentially slow the spread of the virus.

The company said “personal cleansing” grew 30% with double digit sales in every region, while its Home Care organic sales were up more than 30%.

It also reported a 12% increase in volumes in its Health Care segment, which sells Oral-B toothbrushes and Crest toothpaste.

Full-year sales should now rise by 3% to 4%, compared with a prior forecast of a 1% to 3% increase, the company said.

The outlook raise followed that of rival Reckitt Benckiser RB.L, on a jump in demand for its Lysol and Dettol cleaning products. Dettol sales rose 50% in the quarter, the British consumer goods maker said.

Cincinnati-based P&G also raised and narrowed its fiscal 2021 core earnings per share forecast. It now expects it to be up 5% to 8%, compared with a prior forecast of a 3% to 7% increase. Organic sales growth outlook was also increased to 4% to 5% from an earlier range of 2% to 4%.

It also said it would buy back more shares, targeting $7 billion to $9 billion in fiscal 2021, from the $6 billion to $8 billion it aimed for earlier.

The maker of Gillette products said net sales rose to $19.32 billion from $17.80 billion in the three months to Sept. 30, beating analysts’ average estimate of $18.38 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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