BEAUTY CARE

Clorox sales up after Burt’s Bees acquisition

BY Antoinette Alexander

OAKLAND, Calif. Clorox on Monday reported a second quarter sales boost of 8 percent thanks, in part, to its acquisition of natural personal care company Burt’s Bees, as it trimmed its fiscal 2008 outlook to reflect costs.

“Although the commodities environment remains challenging, we delivered strong top-line growth, and our business is strong across the portfolio. On Nov. 30, we completed the acquisition of Burt’s Bees, which is performing well. In December, we began shipping the Green Works line of natural cleansers, our most exciting launch in years,” stated Don Knauss, chairman and chief executive officer. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm across the organization about these new businesses, the momentum in our base business and our progress in delivering on our Centennial Strategy.” 

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Clorox posted sales growth of 8 percent to $1.19 billion compared with $1.10 billion in the year-ago period. Contributing about 1.5 percentage points each of sales growth: December results from the Burt’s Bees acquisition, the bleach businesses acquired in fiscal 2007 and favorable foreign exchange rates. Volume increased about 6 percent compared with last year, including about 1 percentage point of growth from Burt’s Bees. 

Net earnings totaled $92 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, compared with $96 million, or 62 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Among the items impacting the current quarter: the Burt’s Bees acquisition, which reduced pretax earnings by $5 million, or 2 cents per diluted share, primarily due to costs associated with the acquisition. 

For fiscal year 2008, the company now expects earnings of $3.20 per share to $3.35 per share for the year, from a previous range of $3.33 per share to $3.50 per share. The previous range did not include its Burt’s Bees acquisition. 

In addition, Clorox previously had stated that its acquisition of Burt’s Bees would lower earnings by 10 cents to 15 cents per share, but it now expects it will dampen profit by between 13 cents and 15 cents per share. 

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BEAUTY CARE

Alberto-Culver posts record Q1 sales

BY Antoinette Alexander

MELROSE PARK, Ill. Alberto-Culver, whose brands include TRESemme, Alberto VO5, Nexxus and St. Ives, posted record sales and earnings results for the first quarter thanks, in part, to solid growth of its Nexxus and TRESemme brands.

Net sales for the quarter increased 14.1 percent to $400.7 million from $351.1 million in the prior year.

Pre-tax income from continuing operations increased to $43.5 million from a loss of $1.3 million in the year-ago period. Excluding restructuring and other expenses of $4.8 million in the current quarter and $31.4 million in the prior year quarter, pre-tax earnings from continuing operations rose 60.5 percent to $48.3 million versus $30.1 million in the year-ago period.

The company also announced that the board of directors has increased the regularly quarterly cash dividend by 18.2 percent to 6.5 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Feb. 20 to shareholders of record on Feb. 4.

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Boots’ Waters to step down in February

BY Antoinette Alexander

STAMFORD, Conn. Boots Retail International has announced that Martin Waters, the company’s chief executive officer, will resign Feb. 14.

Once his term is complete, Waters is expected to take a new post in the United States, according to Boots. However, details were not disclosed.

A successor has not yet been named, but in the interim Kevan Quantock will continue to lead the Boots team in North America. Quantock has more than 15 years of experience with Boots, playing an integral role in the company’s international development over the last eight years. When introducing Boots to the United States, he was instrumental in establishing commercial and trade relationships with both Target and CVS.

Boots earlier this week announced the launch of its No7 skin care line for men.

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