Photograph by Ramin Talaie — Bloomberg/Getty Images
By John Kell
August 1, 2014

Procter & Gamble reported a 38% jump in fiscal fourth-quarter profit as the consumer-product giant cut overhead expenses, though overall sales trends were choppy.

The maker of Gillette razors, Crest toothpaste and Tide laundry detergent reported mixed sales results for its major business lines for the quarter ended June 30. Net sales jumped 5% for grooming products and rose 1% for the baby, feminine and family care segment. But beauty, health care, and fabric care and home care products sales were all lower than a year ago.

P&G (PG) is broadly exposed to the fickle nature of the consumer. Though some recent reports have suggested U.S. consumer confidence is at its highest level since October 2007, some retail and consumer-product executives have pointed out consumers, particularly lower-income households, are still struggling amid a number of negative macroeconomic factors.

Overall, P&G reported a fourth-quarter profit of $2.6 billion, or 89 cents a share, up from $1.9 billion, or 64 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Core profit, which excludes restructuring charges and other items, grew to 95 cents a share from 79 cents. Net sales slid 1% to $20.2 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected core profit of 91 cents on $20.48 billion in revenue.

Looking ahead, P&G sees net sales for the new fiscal year rising in the low single-digit range and expects core earnings on a per-share basis to grow in the mid-single digits.

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