Household goods giant Procter & Gamble (PG) saw sales surges as shoppers stockpiled toilet paper and cleaning products as a result of being lockdown by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Cincinnati-based group said organic sales jumped 10% in the US and 6% across western Europe as consumers bought more of its brands such as Charmin toilet paper and Safeguard soap while government restrictions forced them to stay at home.
Chief executive David Taylor (pictured) said: “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”.
Overall, P&G said net sales in its third quarter to the end of March lifted 5% to $17.2bn. Net income came in at $2.96bn, a rise of 7% and equivalent to diluted earnings per share of $1.12.
The group said its sales in the US, the highest in decades, were partially offset by an 8% drop China, where the virus first emerged in December.
P&G shares rose as much as 1.4% to $123.23 during Friday stock trading activity in New York. The group’s stock has slid 2.7% this year, well ahead of the 13% decline across the S&P 500. Rival Kimberly Clark, the maker of Cottonelle and Kleenex, is up 2.2% this year.
Procter & Gamble is one of the largest consumer goods manufacturers in the world and the owner of a range of personal and household care brands such as Crest, Dash, Tide, Pampers, and Gillette. The company has a presence in almost 100 countries and employs around 138,000 people.
P&G maintained its full-year 2020 adjusted sales guidance, which predicts a 3% to 4% growth in global sales, down from 5% it previously expected, as a result of “stronger headwinds from foreign exchange”.
Meanwhile, the maker of Pampers diapers and Gillette razors also maintained its full-year forecast for per-share profit gains, excluding some items, of 8% to 11%.