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Unilever, Walmart, P&G Keep Their Focus On The Future

  • Ad Age, Monday, June 29, 2009 10:22 AM
A growing number of forward-thinking marketers appears to be laying the groundwork for long-term growth in a short-term-obsessed world, Jack Neff reports. It may be no surprise to learn that Unilever, Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble are prominent among them, but take a look at how they are reporting their results as part of the mindset.

Wal-Mart has stopped issuing monthly sales figures, partly to help it focus on the future. Unilever (and L'Oreal) have scrapped earnings forecasts. And P&G, while not ditching earnings guidance entirely, has pulled back and left open the door for further revisions as it focuses on growth in what it calls "an investment year" in 2010.

Even some Wall Street types -- though certainly not all -- are sympathetic. "If you give guidance on 10 things and you miss one, everyone's going to focus on the one," points out Deutsche Bank analyst William Schmitz. "In the current environment, how can anyone really give guidance? They don't even know what their categories are going to do."



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