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P&G Posts Biggest Organic Sales Growth in 5 Years—Thanks to Beauty and Health Care Gains

Procter & Gamble Co. posted its biggest growth in five years in a key sales measure last quarter, helped by gains in beauty and health care.

Organic sales, which exclude items like acquisitions and currency effects, rose 4 percent, topping analysts’ projections for 1.9 percent growth.

In an environment when growth is hard to come by for big consumer products companies, the gain in organic sales was unexpectedly strong. P&G said the U.S. drove much of the gain. It called out “strong double-digit” growth in Olay — a long-ailing brand — and in its SK-II luxury skin cream, which is popular in Asia. The company is rolling out more innovative products like a greener Pampers diaper and getting them to market faster. Billions in cost cuts are helping boost profit, even amid higher commodity costs and unfavorable foreign exchange trends.

P&G shares rose as much as 3.2 percent in early trading to $82.81 in New York. They have dropped 13 percent this year through Thursday’s close.

Core earnings per share were $1.12 in the first quarter ended Sept. 30. Analysts anticipated $1.08. For more details on the earnings, click here.