Proctor & Gamble Struggles to Increase Sales

Proctor & Gamble posted results on Friday just two weeks after it declared victory in its proxy war, but the results showed the consumer goods company was making slight progress in certain areas, but any robust growth in sales continues to be elusive.

Profits surpassed forecasts, while sales were in line with expectations. However, the company posted weakness in its baby, feminine, grooming and family care divisions.

Nelson Peltz an activist billionaire investor said that P&G was being held back due to an unwieldy structure and trailing peers in innovation and performance, while executives argued their turnaround had started to take hold.

Sales and earnings for the first quarter were both in line with expectations and kept the company on track to reach its fiscal year targets, said CEO David Taylor through a prepared statement.

Adjusted profit reached $1.09 per share, said the company on Friday, topping analyst estimates of $1.08. Overall its organic sales increased 1% and growth in its fabric and homecare and beauty and health care segments offset drops that took place in other segments.

Shares for the maker of Pantene, Pampers and Tide were down by up to 1.9% in early trading in New York.

The growth in years past has remained elusive for many companies making and selling consumer products. Pressure from retailers and private label brands for cuts in cost have weighed on product manufacturers said an analyst on Wall Street. She added that the results from P&G in particular have come under scrutiny following the market share losses highlighted by Peltz and its sales performance.

P&G said that criticisms by Peltz are outdated and that the company acknowledged problems and it has, and has targeted them.

After three months of press releases back and forth in a war of words between Peltz and Proctor & Gamble executives, the preliminary results for the company showed it prevailed in early October in denying a seat requested by Peltz on the board, but by a margin that was less than 1%.

Peltz challenged those results and argued that he is deserving of a seat on the boards regardless of what the actual final count of ballots was.

P&G and many other companies have been pressured over the past few years by activist investors that make large purchases of stock and then try to push their particular agenda.

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