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Procter & Gamble reports broad growth, raises full-year forecast

[CINCINNATI] Procter & Gamble raised its outlook after posting its best organic sales growth since 2005 amid a boom in at-home consumption of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

The maker of Tide detergent and Dawn dish soap said organic sales growth, which strips out some items like currency swings, rose 9 per cent in the quarter ended Sept 30. Sales grew in each of P&G's business units, led by the fabric and home care segment, which has spiked as consumers do more dishes, laundry and cleaning at home.

"It a continuation of strong momentum. This isn't a flash in a pan," chief financial officer Jon Moeller said in an interview. "I don't see any reason that we shouldn't be able to sustain strong results." The performance signal consumers are sticking to behaviors they've adopted during the pandemic. As long as many remain homebound in its key North American market, a slowdown appears unlikely, and Mr Moeller said he expects strength in fabric and home care to persist. Heightened awareness of wellness and digestive health are also helping to boost P&G's health unit, which sells Oral-B toothbrushes and Metamucil fiber supplements.

The Cincinnati-based company now sees organic revenue growing 4 per cent to 5 per cent in fiscal 2021, an increase from the previous outlook of 2 per cent to 4 per cent. It sees earnings per share rising in range of 4 per cent to 9 per cent.

Mr Moeller said nothing "short of a broadly available vaccine or therapeutic" for Covid-19 would be expected to change current consumption levels.

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The Charmin maker's optimism comes as it overcomes some weak spots from past quarters - like the grooming segment, which grew the most since 2016. The company said sales were buoyed by higher demand for shaving and styling products and higher prices. Meanwhile, in the beauty segment, sales of SK-II skin creams and facial treatments rose 20 per cent in China, where Mr Moeller said "things are pretty much back to normal."

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