Kimberly-Clark’ssales advanced about 8% to $3.9 billion, establishing an all-time quarterly record, during the fourth quarter of 2004. The increase was driven by higher sales volumes of the company's health and hygiene brands, up about 5%, and currency benefits of 3%. Sales grew versus the prior year in each of the company's business segments—Personal Care, Consumer Tissue and Business-to-Business—as well as in all major geographic regions.
Highlights of the quarter included double-digit growth for the company's infant care and incontinence care sectors in North America, powered by the Huggies, Depend and Poise brands, as well as high single-digit volume growth for the North American child care and wipes sectors on continued strong sales of Pull-Ups training pants, GoodNites youth pants and Huggies baby wipes. Meanwhile, Personal Care sales volumes in Latin America rose more than 20% on broad-based growth in diapers.
Operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2004 was $641 million, approximately 7% greater than the prior year.
In 2004, sales of $15.1 billion were up about 8% from $14 billion in 2003, driven by an increase in sales volumes of approximately 5% and currency effects of more than 3%. Operating profit rose more than 7% to $2.5 billion 2004 versus $2.3 billion in 2003.