What happened

Shares of Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ:HELE), a designer and developer of consumer housewares, health and home, and beauty products, jumped as high as 14.8% Wednesday morning after the company released strong first-quarter results.

So what

Fiscal first-quarter sales increased 6% to $376.3 million, easily topping analysts' estimates calling for $352 million. The better-than-expected revenue growth was driven by a strong performance in its housewares segment that jumped 23.6% compared to the prior year. Helen of Troy Limited also recorded a strong bottom line with $2.06 adjusted earnings per share, well ahead of the $1.69 per share that analysts anticipated. Another bright spot was the company's online business, which posted double-digit growth and now represents 23% of consolidated sales.

Image of a home air purifier

Air purifiers are one of many housewares products made by Helen of Troy. Image source: Getty Images.

"This quarter marks a great start to fiscal 2020 and Phase II of our Transformation, which we recently unveiled during our Investor Day on May 21st. Consolidated core business sales grew 6.8% and adjusted diluted EPS grew 10.2%, both well ahead of our expectations given the especially high year-ago base." said Julien R. Mininberg, CEO, in a press release.

Now what

Despite consolidated gross profit margins declining by 50 basis points, from 41.3% down to 40.8%, the first quarter was strong enough for management to raise full-year guidance. Management now expects net sales growth from 1.7% to 3.6%, compared to prior guidance of 1% to 3%, and adjusted earnings between $8.40 per share and $8.65 per share, compared to prior guidance of $8.25 per share to $8.50 per share. Investors have reason to be optimistic today, as the company appears to have the right management team, strategies, and culture in place to execute its phase II goals -- which include doubling down on international, investing in leadership brands, optimizing operations and capital deployment, among others -- over the next five years.

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