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Procter & Gamble’s price hikes are not scaring away consumers

Despite rampant inflation, consumers aren’t scrimping on household staples or personal care products, according to Procter & Gamble, which reported robust sales growth of everything from fabric detergent to toothpaste and diapers. The Cincinnati-based maker of Tide, Bounty, and Oral B turned in sales and profit growth that beat Wall Street’s expectations increasing 6% to $21 billion and 13% respectively in the quarter ended Dec. 31. The growth occurred during inflation’s fastest rate of growth in four decades, driving up Procter & Gamble’s prices by 3% on average. Half of the conglomerate’s sales growth came from price increases while the other half was due to higher volumes of items sold, the company said. “While it’s very early for these commodity-based price increases, to date, we see positive signs,” chief executive, Jon Moeller said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. Moeller also said that consumers are buying premium products as evidenced by Procter & Gamble’s private label brands, which did not grow in the quarter. Sales of healthcare and cleaning brands grew the most at 8% each, fueled by respiratory products like Vicks and NyQuil – because of a potent cold and flu season – and fabric care products. Grooming products, which include Venus and Gillette shaving brands, grew by 5% as did sales of baby and family brands, including Pampers and Charmin toilet paper, the company said. Sales of Procter & Gamble’s beauty products, including shampoos Herbal Essences, Pantene and Old Spice, rose by just 2%. The company is now raising its forecast for 2022, including sales growth of between 3% and 4% for 2022 up from its previous estimate of 2% to 4%, but it’s not expecting higher earnings due to inflationary pressures. Procter & Gamble’s shares were up nearly 4% to more than $163 on Wednesday.

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