Helen of Troy Limited, designer, developer and worldwide marketer of brand-name personal care and household consumer products, today reported record sales and increased net earnings for the first quarter ended May 31, 2007.
First quarter sales increased 7.5%to a record US $140,170,000 versus sales of $130,441,000 in the same period of the prior year. First quarter net earnings were $10,117,000 or $0.32 per fully diluted share, compared with $6,679,000 or $0.21 per fully diluted share for the same period in the prior year, an increase in fully diluted earnings per share of 52.4%. First quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 18% to $17,997,000 versus $15,297,000 for the prior year quarter.
Gerald J. Rubin, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, commenting on the Company's first quarter results, stated, "We are extremely pleased with our results for the first quarter. During the period we experienced sales increases in both our Personal Care Segment and our Housewares Segment. Selling, general and administrative expense declined to 32.6 percent of sales this quarter compared to 36.1 percent of sales for the first quarter of last year, or a 3.5%point improvement. The improvement is mostly due to an improved distribution cost structure, outbound freight cost improvements and lower information technology outsourcing costs. Operating income for the first quarter increased to $14,301,000 versus $10,916,000 in the prior year first quarter, an increase of 31%. This resulted in operating income of 10.2%of sales for the quarter, compared to operating income of 8.4% of sales for the first quarter of last year.
"We currently expect ten months of sales for the newly acquired Belson Products business for this fiscal year to be $20 million to $30 million. Gross margins for these sales are less than our existing professional product sales, and will negatively impact overall margins until the sourcing of products is transitioned to lower cost providers, which we believe will occur late this year or early next year. We believe the overall Belson business should be slightly accretive to our earnings for the fiscal year.
"During the month of May we started shipping the exciting new Bed Head by TIGI appliance product line," he added. "During the second fiscal quarter we will begin to see the consumer sell-through of this product line as we initiate our advertising campaign for Bed Head. For the fiscal year ending on February 29, 2008, we are now projecting total Company sales, including sales from the Belson Products business, in the range of $680 million to $690 million and annual net earnings in excess of $2.00 per fully diluted share."