The mighty US winter of 2013-4 did not translate into soaring cold medicine sales at Procter & Gamble.
The consumer goods giant, which sells the NyQuil flu medicine and other cold remedies under its Vicks brand, pointed to lower sales of these health products as a factor behind slightly dipping sales and scant earnings growth.
Net earnings came in $US2.6 billion ($A2.79 billion), up 1.7 per cent from a year ago. Revenues were $US20.56 billion, down from $US20.60 billion a year ago.
The weak sales of cold remedies, part of a two-per cent fall in health product sales, came despite a brutal winter in much of the US.
Some Chicago meteorologists called 2013-4 the coldest winter in 30 years and one of the coldest on record. Conditions in New York lingered below freezing for weeks.
The weather was also cold in Cincinnati, Ohio, where P&G is based.
“It was cold all winter,” said P&G chief financial officer Jon Moeller, who nonetheless cited “a very light cough and cold season, particularly in North America”.
A key factor appears to have been the lack of swings in temperature, said Moeller.
“It was a steady weather pattern instead of a volatile weather pattern; at least that certainly has some impact on cough and cold incidence.”
Results otherwise were mixed.
Net sales in four of P&G’s five product divisions came in lower than last year, however, these declines were due in large part to unfavourable currency effects in Venezuela and some other countries.
When currency effects were stripped out, P&G scored sales gains in four of the five divisions.
P&G’s best performance came in fabric care and home care, where the company achieved higher pricing in some products, but strong product innovation in baby care was countered by competitive promotional activity in family care.