Small appliance maker Applica Incorporated announced that first-quarter sales for 2004 were U.S. $132.5 million, up 9.3 percent from $121.2 million in the first quarter of 2003. The company said the increase was largely the result of growth in sales of Black & Decker(R) branded products benefiting from better point-of-sale of such products, as well as retailers beginning the year at lower inventory levels.
Applica reported a loss for the 2004 first quarter of $4.5 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with earnings of $19.6 million, or $0.83 per diluted share, for the 2003 first quarter. The first-quarter 2003 earnings included $37.5 million ($22.5 million, net of tax) of equity in the net earnings of a joint venture in which Applica owned a 50-percent interest.
Applica's gross profit margin decreased to 28.3 percent in the 3-month period ended March 31, 2004 as compared to 30.5 percent for the same period in 2003. The gross profit margin decrease was primarily attributed to manufacturing retrenchment, higher raw material costs, higher inbound freight costs and start-up costs related to the Home Cafe(TM) single-cup brewing system, Applica said.
Harry D. Schulman, Applica's president and CEO, said, "Two new products launched this week, the Home Cafe(TM) single-cup brewing system and the Tide(TM) Buzz(TM) ultrasonic stain removal system, both co-developed with The Procter & Gamble Company, should contribute to exceptional growth."
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