Procter and Gamble and Kraft, the two Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) leaders, reported identical revenues and earnings growth in their last quarter. Analysts interviewed by Barrons magazine prefer Kraft over P&G for one major reason: Kraft’s pricing strategy that is focused on reducing discounting and solidifying pricing power in the face of competition from low priced private label.
Kraft Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld seemed confident that the days of branded foods being nibbled to death by cheaper private-label goods have come to an end. Rosenfeld says the company has expanded operating margins and plans to continue increasing its “pricing power.”
What about P&G pricing? According to Jason Gere of RBC Capital Markets, discounting and price cuts are not guaranteed to drive volume.
Although the company will likely spend heartily on price cuts, advertising and brand-building in the coming year, it’s unclear whether the strategy will work, says Gere, who rates the company at Market Perform.
Does P&G practice effective price management? Mostly it does, but analyst comments raises questions on some of the components.
- Value add to segments: Does P&G has multiple brands that appeal to different segments and keep the customers within their brand family as they trade down? I believe so. Mr.Lafley, Ex-CEO of P&G, made it clear that P&G will expand product portfolio to cater to changing consumer behavior.
- Incremental analysis: What is the incremental profit from price cuts and increased advertising spend? Jason Gere’s comments above seem to indicate there is uncertainty on this aspect.
- Customer Margin: Can P&G capture a larger share of customer spend? The decline in organic sals growth indicates challenges in capturing larger share of customer spend at the stores.
Ultimately it comes down to effective price management to drive profit growth and stock prospects.