Procter & Gamble Reports Biggest US Sales Surge in Decades

Consumer goods sales rise as coronavirus pandemic intensifies.
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Procter & Gamble’s sales in the United States surged higher in the first three-months of the year as households stocked up on consumer staples such as toilet paper and cleaning products.

P&G, whose brands include Charmin toilet paper and Mr. Clean soaps, reported a six percent rise in its fiscal third-quarter profits to $2.9 billion.

Revenues climbed five percent to $17.2 billion. Sales in the U.S. rose by rose by more than 10 percent, the biggest rise in decades, more than offsetting the drop in sales in China.

P&G, along with Johnson & Johnson, appears to have been an early winner from the chaotic shifts in economies around the globe as the coronavirus spread from China to the U.S. and the rest of the world. While the shutdowns devastated restaurants, travel, most manufacturing, and hospitality, the surge in spending on consumer goods has helped some companies.

But the company cut its revenue forecast for fiscal 2020. It’s likely that unusually high household inventories could hold back further spending and a strong U.S. dollar could weigh on global sales.

P&G, which raised its dividend earlier this week, cited especially strong sales gains in personal health care and fabric and home care; the latter category includes cleaning products such as Comet soap and Cascade dishwashing detergent.

But the company also cited a drag from the coronavirus in China and other key Asian markets, where retail operations were disrupted. P&G suffered a double-digit revenue decline in the super-premium SK-II beauty products, a driver of earnings in past quarters.

“The strong results we delivered this quarter are a direct reflection of the integral role our products play in meeting the daily health, hygiene and cleaning needs of consumers around the world,” said P&G Chief Executive David Taylor.

Shares rose by as much as one percent when the U.S. equities markets opened Friday morning.

–AFP contributed to this report.

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