Colgate sales slip in fourth quarter

Personal care company Colgate Palmolive saw fourth-quarter net profits fall slightly as sales and prices declined in north America and it spent more on advertising.

Colgate, best known for the toothpaste, earned $624m (£394m), or $1.24 per share in the fourth quarter, down from $631m, or $1.21 per share, in the same period in 2009.

The slight decrease still came in above analysts’ forecasts for earnings per share of $1.23. The decrease was equivalent to one per cent of net profits and two per cent of earnings per share.

Chief executive Ian Cook said Colgate was planning to spend even more on advertising to “fuel top-line growth worldwide.”

“We expect our sharp focus on cost-saving initiatives to deliver another year of gross margin expansion,” he said.

Net sales saw a more marked decline and missed analysts’ expectations.

Over the quarter, sales revenue fell to $3.98bn from $4.08bn the previous year, against forecasts of $4.06bn revenue.

However, organic sales grew by one per cent.

Cook said he anticipated “mid-single digit earnings per share growth for the year.”