P&G to shed up to 100 brands

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

CINCINNATI (AP) — Procter & Gamble Co. is dramatically pruning its product lineup to focus on the most popular of its household staples.

The world's largest consumer products maker said it will shed about 90 to 100 brands around the globe over the next year or two, leaving it with about 70 to 80 brands when the nips and tucks are complete. The maker of Duracell, CoverGirl, Pampers and Tide did not specify which products it plans to keep but noted that they account for the vast majority of its sales.

CEO A.G. Lafley said the company should have made the move long ago.

"In an ideal world, we would've done this at the depth of the financial crisis, in the recession," Lafley said in a conference call with analysts and investors. "Having said that, I don't see any reason to wait. I don't see any virtue in waiting another minute."

The announcement comes as Procter & Gamble continues cutting costs to offset sluggish sales. The trimming of its product lineup is also intended to help the company do a better job of marketing its core brands. With its Always Infinity female hygiene pads, for instance, Lafley noted that the company didn't adequately communicate to women why they were superior.

For its fiscal fourth quarter, P&G said cost-cutting helped boost its profit by 38 percent. Net income increased to $2.58 billion, or 89 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $1.88 billion, or 64 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, it earned 95 cents per share, topping the 91 cents per share analysts expected.

The Cincinnati-based company said revenue fell slightly to $20.16 billion from $20.3 billion due to foreign currency fluctuations and some divestitures. Wall Street expected $20.47 billion.

Full-year net income climbed to $11.64 billion, or $4.01 per share, from $11.31 billion, or $3.86 per share in the previous year. Adjusted profit was $4.22 per share.

For fiscal 2015, P&G anticipates adjusted earnings growth in the range of mid-single digits. Revenue is expected to be in the low single-digit range.

Shares gained $1.67, or 2.2 percent, to $78.99 before the market open.