Procter & Gamble Co has beaten quarterly sales and profit estimates, as pandemic-weary people kept up their stocks of soaps, detergents and other cleaning products, even as COVID-19 vaccines began to roll out.
The global health crisis has boosted sales of P&G's hygiene and washing products such as Charmin toilet paper and Tide laundry detergents for over a year, as consumers stockpiled on essentials and cleaning supplies to stay prepared for lockdowns.
With demand still up, P&G maintained its annual sales growth at 5% to 6%. The Gillette razor maker also raised its planned share buybacks for fiscal 2021 by $1 billion to $11 billion.
However, the roll out of vaccines and people starting to return to more relatively normal lives have raised doubts over how long that level of growth can be maintained.
Besides, commodity prices are also rising. To offset that, the company said it has started increasing prices on its baby care, feminine care and adult incontinence products in the United States.
Consumer product companies have been pressured by recent increases in cost of raw materials such as pulp, recycled fibre and resins. Pulpmakers have also raised prices for hardwood pulp and forecast rising global demand for tissues and toilet papers.
Cincinnati-based P&G's price hikes follow rival Kimberly-Clark that said in March it would hike prices of its Scott toilet paper, tissues and diapers in North America by similar levels as P&G, starting June.
P&G's net sales rose 5% to $18.1 billion in the third quarter ended March 31, compared with analysts' average estimate of $17.90 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net income attributable to the company rose 12% to $3.27 billion, or $1.26 per share, beating estimates of $1.19 per share.