Sometimes, a little is more than enough. Procter & Gamble's fiscal 2013 sales rose just 1% to $84.2 billion, but the modest gain, driven in part by fabric and home care product sales, beat Wall Street estimates and sent P&G's stock higher in early morning trading. The company said that unit volume growth contributed 2% to sales growth, and pricing added 1%. Unfavorable foreign exchange reduced net sales by 2%. Organic sales increased 3%, with all segments growing organic sales. Diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations were $3.86, an increase of 24% versus the prior year period. Excluding non-core items, core earnings per share were $4.05, an increase of 5% versus the prior year period.
Reported and core gross margin increased 30 basis points. Manufacturing and productivity savings improved gross margin by approximately 160 basis points, and pricing improved gross margin by 70 basis points. The company said that these benefits were largely offset by product and geographic mix and manufacturing start-up costs.
“The company met its objectives for the fourth quarter and fiscal year, and we will build on these results in fiscal 2014,” said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, A.G. Lafley. “With an overriding focus on value creation, we will strengthen and accelerate productivity plans. We will continue to make choiceful investments in core brands, our biggest innovation opportunities, and in our core developed and most promising developing markets. In all we do, we will stay focused on winning with consumers, customers and shareholders.”
By category, beauty care sales fell 2% to $19.9 billion, grooming sales fell 4% to $8.0 billion, health care sales rose 3% to $12.8 billion, fabric and home care sales increased 1% to $27.4 billion, and baby and family care sales increased 2% to $16.7 billion.