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Sales Slip 3.4% at K-C in 4Q

January 26, 2009

2009 outlook adjusted in latest report

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (K-C) today reported that net sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased 3.4% to $4.6 billion. Operating profit slipped 7% to $623 million in the fourth quarter, as compared to the prior year.

Sales of personal care products decreased 2.5% from the fourth quarter of 2007. Personal care sales in North America declined about 2% versus the year-ago quarter; while in Europe, personal care sales fell approximately 16% in the quarter, mainly as a result of a 14% impact from weaker currencies, says the company.

In developing and emerging markets, personal care sales slipped about 1%. However, growth in organic sales was broad-based, with particular strength in China, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Brazil and the Andean region in Latin America.

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Falk said, "During the fourth quarter, economic weakness impacted our categories more than anticipated, particularly in North America and Europe. We believe some of the effects are temporary, reflecting customer warehouse and consumer pantry inventory reductions; however, consumer trade-down also affected our sales in several categories. We are fine-tuning our pricing and promotional plans to ensure we remain competitive.”

K-C’s full year results for 2008 fared better for the full year.  For the year of 2008, sales jumped 6.3% to $19.4 billion.

The company outlined key planning and guidance assumptions for 2009. It stated that it expects a net sales decline of 4-5%, and an adjusted operating profit similar to 2008.
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