The consumer-goods company Procter & Gamble ups price of toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, tissues.
Ariel Skelley—Getty Images
By Glenn Fleishman
July 31, 2018

Don’t blame the truckers for higher prices of paper goods from Procter & Gamble. It’s really a lack of truckers that’s causing costs to rise. P&G said it would raise prices in North America on Tuesday, increasing the cost for Pampers by 4%, and the average price of Bounty paper towels, Charmin toilet paper and Puffs tissues by 5%.

Procter & Gamble, like other firms that rely on a combination of wood pulp and moving it around, face pressure from both higher prices for pulp (the extracted fiber from trees, a primary or major ingredient in those four product lines) and from increased shipping costs. Shippers cannot recruit truckers fast enough to offset increased demand, putting a crimp on supply.

The company announced the price increases along with earnings news today, having turned in solid profits for its fiscal fourth-quarter, but offering guidance of low growth for the next year, as well as increased materials costs and other drags. Bounty absorbs 40% of the market share for paper towels worldwide, while Charmin cleans up with 25% of global toilet-paper sales.

The price of hardwood pulp, used in toilet paper and tissues, has risen 60% since late 2016. Softwood pulp finds its way into diapers and sanitary pads, and it saw a 21% increase.

Previously, P&G tried lowering prices on some of its products, like Tide detergent and Gillette razors, to spark demand. But a recent rise in household income and spending appear to be driving this revenue move.

Last week, competitor Colgate-Palmolive also said higher prices are coming for its range of consumer goods. Kimberly-Clark last week said it would also raise prices on its Kleenex-brand of tissues worldwide, among other products.

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