Worldwide sales grew 0.5% during the fourth quarter to a record $3,664.1 million and unit volume grew 1.0%. Global pricing increased 7.5% and foreign exchange was negative 8.0%. Excluding divested businesses, worldwide sales and unit volume grew 1.0% and 1.5%, respectively, and organic sales (excluding foreign exchange, acquisitions and divestments) grew 9.0%. Gross profit margin as reported was 56.0% in fourth quarter 2008 and 56.1% in the year ago period.
"We are delighted that our strong organic top-line momentum continued this quarter with organic sales increasing 9%," said Ian Cook, chairman, president and CEO, Colgate-Palmolive Company. "Also, our aggressive cost cutting and increasing efficiency allowed us to raise profit margins on both the operating profit and net profit lines, despite difficult economic conditions worldwide. A steady stream of new products across categories and at various price points is driving market share gains here in the U.S. and abroad. For the year, Colgate's global toothpaste market share was at an all-time record high of 44.8%, led by share gains in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, China, Russia, Germany and Australia. Colgate also strengthened its global leadership in manual toothbrushes with its global market share in that category exceeding a record 30% for the year.
"The benefits of recently easing commodity and oil prices should begin to flow through during the first and second quarters of 2009. This, coupled with higher pricing and our ongoing aggressive savings programs, should offset the expected impact of the stronger dollar and indicates that gross profit margin for full year 2009 should be up nicely versus 2008. Overall, despite the global economic slowdown, we are comfortable with external profit expectations for the first quarter and full year 2009."
The complete report is available from Colgate-Palmolive Company.