CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant – and the world's biggest advertiser – posted an 8% decline in net sales to $18.4 billion (€13.9bn; £12.5bn) in the first quarter, although organic sales did increase by 1% over this period.

The company's net earnings fell 4% in Q1 to $2.6bn, with the main reasons for the overall slowdown said to include unfavourable foreign exchange rates and a "lower shipment volume."

Volume shipments actually declined by 5%, with the most major "market contractions" taking place in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, largely as a result of P&G's strategy of increasing prices to offset falling currency values.

However, the corporation's chairman/ceo, AG Lafley, said the results were "good" given the "very challenging macroeconomic environment."

He added that P&G continues to invest "in innovation, brand building, capacity and capabilities," and was "confident in our long term growth prospects."

However, the company also reported that its operating margin was boosted by "lower marketing expenses while increasing media delivery" in the first three months of this year.

Beauty sales slid by 9% to $4.3bn on annual basis, with grooming down by 16% to $1.7bn, and health and well-being tumbling 12% to $3.2bn.

Similarly, snacks and petcare sales dropped 4% to $764m, with household care registering a contraction of 6% to $5.4bn, and baby and family care similarly posting a decline of 2% to 3.5bn.

Overall, the company predicted that organic sales would increase by between 2% and 3% this year, with total sales falling by between 2% and 4%.

Data sourced from Procter & Gamble; additional content by WARC staff