Chief among the highlights, sales in developing and emerging markets climbed 22%, with particular strength in personal care and K-C Professional businesses. Overall, organic sales growth exceeded 5%, driven primarily by increased sales volumes and higher net selling prices.
Top-line growth, along with continued success in reducing costs, helped the company deliver improved results despite approximately $160 million of cost inflation and a $22 million rise in strategic marketing spending.
Chairman and CEO Thomas Falk said, "We're off to a good start in 2008, with results on plan in the first quarter in the face of unrelenting inflationary pressures. I'm encouraged that overall net selling prices increased by nearly 2% during the quarter. Improving revenue realization is a key focus for us in order to improve margins, particularly in the consumer tissue and K-C Professional businesses, which have been hardest hit by inflation. Meanwhile, we continued to do the right things for the long-term health of our business, driving costs out of the system and stepping up marketing support for our brands. During the quarter, we also made good use of our cash, boosting the dividend by more than 9% and buying back about $200 million of KMB stock."