Survey: Consumer Products Companies' Optimism Down

Consumer products executives are less optimistic about the domestic economy for the next 12 months but more confident about the world economy and revenue projections.

NEW YORK — Optimism about the U.S. economy for the next 12 months fell among U.S. consumer products companies in the third quarter 2007, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Twenty-nine percent of consumer products executives say they are optimistic about the domestic economy, down 24 points from the 53 percent in the previous quarter.
Fifty percent of survey respondents are optimistic about the world economy, down 13 points from the 63 percent in the previous quarter.
Revenue projections for the next 12 months rose slightly to 6.8 percent from 6.3 percent in the last quarter. Ninety-two percent of executives plan for growth over the next year, with 22 percent expecting double-digit growth revenue.
“The drop off in domestic optimism is no surprise given the subprime credit crunch and the high energy pries that we are all experience,” said John Maxwell, leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Retail & Consumer Industry Practice. “But on a positive note, consumer products executives are largely positive about their own revenue growth, which signals a strength for our industry.”
Oil/energy prices were listed as the leading barrier to growth over the next year, followed by concern about demand and anxiety about decreasing profitability.
Thirty-seven percent are planning major new investments of capital this quarter, versus 51 percent last quarter.
Thirty-two percent are planning to add new hires to their workforce, down 8 percent from the 40 percent last quarter.
“Companies are planning to limit their investments and scale back on hiring plans in order to meet profitability goals for their stakeholders,” said Maxwell. “While economic optimism is down this quarter, revenue targets are on track with original projections. This is a healthy sign.”
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