Has Tupperware (NYSE:TUP), the direct seller of plastic kitchen containers and beauty products, truly turned the corner? It certainly seems so. Yesterday, the company reported its fifth consecutive increase in quarterly earnings per share. But earnings didn't just increase during the first quarter of 2005 -- they smashed estimates. The company expected to earn $0.16 to $0.20 per share yet found a way to earn $0.40. It helped to have an extra week in the quarter compared with 2004, but that extra week isn't the big reason for the jump.

The company's exceeding expectations, along with its bumping 2005 earnings guidance up at least 10 cents to $1.55-$1.65 per share (before extraordinary items), propelled its stock up by over 9% to reach a new two-week high. More generally, Tupperware stock is up 35% from its low of $16 in August 2004. Throw in a dividend yield of over 4%, and shareholders have seen some nice returns from what could be best described as a very mature company. But the question is, what is fueling the performance?

It depends on where you look. Europe still dominates sales on an absolute basis, but the Latin American region is showing the most growth. Too bad Latin America accounts for only 8.5% of total sales.

The really interesting division is BeautiControl, seller of consumable beauty care products, whose sales grew 37%. During the conference call, management talked up BeautiControl's results, and rightly so. If you can grow in a difficult environment (check outRevlon's (NYSE:REV) struggles in the retail category) with the Avon Lady and Mary Kay breathing down your neck, you're doing something right.

Europe generated 94% of total profits after currency fluctuations. That's to be expected. But a drop in losses in North America accounted for 58% of the profit growth for the quarter. The North American region is still losing money, but losing significantly less money is a step in the right direction. BeautiControl's impressive showing, meanwhile, accounted for 22% of the profit growth. So 80% of the profit growth came from 20% of the businesses. Glad to know the 80/20 rule still holds.

On the conference call, management was very upbeat and laid out a strategic plan: grow in emerging markets, return North America to profitability, and sell more consumable products through BeautiControl. Of all those ideas, I like selling more consumable products best. You can only sell so many "durable" products like containers. But consumables like skin- and hair-care products create resale opportunities. Tupperware stock is currently selling at 14 times forward earnings and yielding 4%. It's not as good of a buy as it was in the middle of last year, but at least Tupperware seems to be getting its burp back.

Fool contributor David Meier does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.