Jul 30, 9:58 AM EDT

Procter & Gamble's sales dip again on softer volume, unfavorable exchange rates

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CINCINNATI (AP) -- Procter & Gamble's sales fell for the sixth straight quarter as the world's bigger consumer goods company was weighed down by softer sales volume and unfavorable currency exchange rates.

The maker of products including Tide, Pampers and Charmin said higher prices helped offset a decline in shipment volume for its fiscal fourth quarter. That kept sales flat after stripping out the impact of currency exchange rates, acquisitions and divestitures.

Procter & Gamble, based in Cincinnati, has been trying to boost its results by cutting costs and shrinking its portfolio of products to concentrate on the 10 categories and about 65 brands where it says it is strongest.

CEO A.G. Lafley noted the company is focusing on more profitable products, too. In its fabric care unit, for instance, he said P&G is growing its Tide detergent pods, but getting out of cheaper "commodity" products like bleach and lower-cost powders.

"The last thing we want to do is chase volume and share that has no value," Lafley said during a conference call with analysts and investors.

But he noted that it would take time for the company to shift course.

Looking ahead to its next fiscal year, the company expects organic sales to be flat to up by a low single-digit percentage. When factoring in exchange rates, it expects sales to be down in the low- to mid-single digit percentages.

Earlier this week, P&G also said it named company veteran David Taylor to succeed Lafley, who returned from retirement in 2013 to serve as chief executive. Taylor, who heads its global beauty, grooming and health care division, steps into his role Nov. 1.

For its fiscal year 2015, higher prices offset a decline in shipment volume, lifting sales by 1 percent when stripping out factors like exchange rates. The company said its grooming division was hurt by a "continued decline in consumer shaving incidents." Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said the trend was primarily a "U.S. dynamic."

For the quarter ended June 30, the company earned $521 million, or 18 cents per share. That included a charge related to an accounting change in its Venezuelan operations.

Not including one-time items, it said it earned $1 per share, which was more than the 94 cents per share analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Total revenue fell 9 percent to $17.79 billion. That was below the $18.06 billion Wall Street expected.

Shares of P&G were down almost 3 percent at $78.36.

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