The world's largest advertiser, consumer products titan Procter & Gamble, is bucking the trend of its rivals and forecasting better than expected sales for its fiscal second quarter.

In October the Cincinnati-headquartered company said sales would grow between 5% and 7%, but has now revised that figure to 8%.

P&G's cheerful prognostications are in marked contrast to US household products manufacturer Colgate-Palmolive's whose grim plans for 4,400 job losses and major financial restructuring was revealed earlier this week [WAMN: 7-Dec-2004].

Another major competitor, cosmetics company Avon, says its sales are expected to fall by 5% in Q4; while profits are not expected to break surface until 2006.

P&G's domination has been masterminded by ceo Alan G Lafley. During his four year tenure the company has boosted its global yearly ad spend to around $4 billion (€3bn, £2bn), ploughed more millions into new product development and revamped existing brands.

P&G has also been singleminded about its expansion into China, Russia and Latin America where it has challenged its competitors and reaped rich rewards in market share and sales.

Says Burt Flickinger, of Strategic Resource Group: "As Colgate has undermarketed its brand, P&G with both the Latin and Asian retailers, has really seized the initiative."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff