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Helen of Troy Reports Record Sales and Earnings for First Quarter
Jul 9, 2003
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Helen of Troy Limited today reported record sales and earnings for the quarter ended May 31, 2003.

The personal care appliance maker reported that sales increased 4 percent to a first quarter record of U.S. $106.500 million versus sales of $102.5 million in the same period of the prior year. First quarter net income increased 125 percent to a record $14.8 million or $0.50 per diluted share, compared with $6.6 million or $0.22 per diluted share for the same period a year earlier.

On June 17, 2003, Helen of Troy settled pending litigation and included the proceeds from this settlement in Other Income. The effect of the settlement was to increase earnings by approximately $0.08 per share. Earnings for the quarter were $0.42 per share, excluding this transaction.

Gerald J. Rubin, Helen of Troy's chairman, CEO, and president stated: "This marks our tenth consecutive year of first quarter sales increases, and we are extremely pleased with the results achieved in this difficult retail sales environment. Sales increased in every segment of our business, excluding Tactica. Our sales leaders include the International division, the Professional division, retail personal care products and Idelle Labs skin and hair care products. First quarter sales excluding Tactica increased by 20 percent to $91.2 million. Excluding Tactica and our new Idelle Labs division, Helen of Troy sales increased by 7.9 percent to $82.1 million versus $76.1 million for last year's first quarter.

"Gross margins increased to 49.6 percent from 48.3 percent last year. First quarter operating income increased 5.4 percentage points to 15.2 percent of net sales from 9.8 percent a year ago. First quarter net income increased 7.5 percentage points to 13.9 percent from 6.4 percent a year ago."

He continued: "For the fiscal year ending Feb. 28, 2004, we expect overall sales to increase 9 to 12 percent, to a range of $500 to $515 million. We are raising our fiscal year earnings per share guidance to $1.75 to $1.80, from $1.45 to $1.50, or 34 to 37-percent increase from prior fiscal year's earnings per share of $1.31. Year-over-year sales have increased in 34 of the past 37 quarters, with net income increasing in 33 of these 37 quarters, which we believe demonstrates a consistent financial performance during the past nine years. Because of our continuing confidence in the future performance of the company, our Board of Directors' has authorized a Stock Repurchase Program consisting of 3,000,000 shares, effective immediately."

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