Whirlpool Corporation reaffirmed its previously announced earnings outlook for the first quarter of 2003. The company also announced that year-to-date consumer retail sales in North America are within the range of prior forecasts. "While uncertain economic and geopolitical environments cause us all to be extra diligent as they relate to changes in trends and consumer demand, today we are seeing a moderate decline in consumer demand in the U.S. appliance industry," said David R. Whitwam, Whirlpool Corporation's chairman and CEO. "In addition, we are not seeing a sales-mix shift to lower priced products that are sold under our U.S. brands."
Mr. Whitwam added: "Consistent with our previous forecast for the quarter, U.S. appliance industry shipments appear to be down approximately 4 percent, and retail sales down 3 percent from last year's levels. Company and retail inventory levels appear to be balanced and appropriate to support first-quarter sales projections.
"The company continues to monitor and manage the economic challenges brought on by the current geopolitical environment. However, given current industry conditions, we expect to deliver first-quarter earnings that will approximate our previous forecast of flat to up moderately from last year's core earnings of U.S. $1.32 per share." For the full year, the company expects U.S. appliance shipments to be flat to up moderately from last year's level. The company reaffirms its full-year earnings guidance of $6.20 to $6.40 per share.
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