Beards’ popularity cutting into razor sales, Procter & Gamble says

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Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:00 am

Procter & Gamble Co. says a growing preference for shaggy styles is trimming razor sales.

Beards are showing up all over, from the curated facial hair favored by Brooklyn hipsters to the solidarity beards sported by baseball’s Boston Red Sox, which won the 2013 World Series, to the heavily bearded cast of “Duck Dynasty.”

P&G even called out Movember, when participants grow mustaches to raise money for prostate cancer research. The event cut into grooming sales last quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said Friday on an earnings call.

P&G’s grooming business, which includes shaving cream, razor blades and deodorant, generated $2.12 billion in revenue during the quarter ended Dec. 31 and accounted for 9.5 percent of the company’s sales. Though the division’s sales rose 3 percent, excluding currency effects, John Faucher, an analyst at JPMorgan & Chase Co. in New York, said in a Jan. 13 note that sales of nondisposable razors and blades fell 7.8 percent in the 12 weeks through Dec. 21.

The reason: “Increased interest in facial hair,” he said.

P&G and competitor Schick, which is owned by Energizer Holdings Inc., also have to contend with upstart razor sellers such as Dollar Shave Club, which sells blade subscriptions for as little as $1 a month. Moeller said the challengers are small and aren’t having a major impact on P&G’s sales.

Moeller said more men are shaving their chests and backs these days. Coming soon from the world’s largest consumer- products company: a body razor.

P&G said that second-quarter net income fell 16 percent to $3.43 billion, or $1.18 a share, from $4.06 billion, or $1.39, a year earlier.

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