Chairman and CEO Thomas Falk said, "We continue to execute our Global Business Plan strategies in a difficult environment. We grew organic sales in the first quarter in line with our full-year plan, as we continue to benefit from innovation and targeted growth initiatives. We are gaining market share in several businesses, and we are launching a number of product innovations to further improve our brands. We also continue to deliver significant ongoing cost savings and allocate capital in shareholder friendly ways, with first quarter share repurchases and dividend payments totaling more than $1.1 billion."
In the Personal Care product segment, sales increased 2% compared with the first quarter of 2010 to $2.2 billion.Sales volumes rose 2% and changes in currency rates benefited sales by 2%. On the other hand, net selling prices were off 1% and changes in product mix reduced sales slightly. First quarter operating profits of $389 million decreased 18%. Despite benefits from volume growth, cost savings and stronger currency rates, segment operating profit declined, primarily due to input cost inflation and lower net selling prices.
Sales in North America decreased 2%. Although sales volumes increased 2%, net selling prices declined 3%, driven by increased promotion activity for Huggies diapers. In addition, changes in product mix reduced net sales by 1%. Feminine care volumes grew at a double-digit rate for the fifth consecutive quarter behind continued market share growth from the U by Kotex line extension. In addition, volumes increased high-single digits in adult care and mid-single digits in baby wipes. Finally, although infant and child care volumes fell low-single digits, reflecting continued soft category demand, the company's market shares were even with year-ago levels in infant care and up in child care.