P&G earnings lag expectations

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Procter & Gamble Co. today reported fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 9.2% from a year ago, to $1.1 billion, on 3% higher sales of $9.9 billion. Sales were up compared to the 1% gain in the first quarter but still were running below the 7% gains P&G needs to reach sales goals set by Chairman John Pepper. Earnings growth for the second quarter, ended Dec. 31, fell short of the 11% to 14% growth P&G expects for the year, and the company also reported earnings in the January-March quarter are likely to fall short of that target. But P&G expects a rebound in its fiscal fourth quarter. Asia remained a relative bright spot for P&G, with sales up 5% last quarter. In North America, sales rose 2% on unit volume growth of only 1%, as P&G pocketed price increases on laundry and cleaning, beauty-care, and paper products.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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