Ready for a party -- Tupperware style?  For us number-crunching types, that may not be at the top of the list of exciting things to do this weekend. Personally, I'm just happy if I can find a lid to match the container. But Tupperware Brands' (NYSE:TUP) first-quarter results are showing modest signs of improvement. Perhaps at least a small bash is in order, particularly since archrival Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE:NWL) just reported a down quarter.

By the numbers
Total sales grew by 8% in U.S. dollars, 5% in local currency. Sales grew at a double-digit pace in Asia Pacific and Tupperware North America. Sales in Europe were flat in local currency, driven by lower sales in Germany. This top-line growth is an encouraging sign from a company that has delivered modest sales growth for the past few years.

EPS of $0.36 per share (excluding unusual items) was flat with the prior year, but well above analyst consensus expectations of $0.30. This sent the stock spinning up 8% on Thursday. The company had previously guided analysts to a range of $0.27 to $0.32. 

Acquisition synergies
It appears the acquisition of Sara Lee's (NYSE:SLE) international beauty and personal care business a year ago is beginning to deliver results. The company had expected three benefits from the acquisition. First, it's a natural fit with Tupperware's direct selling model, which is similar to that of Avon Products (NYSE:AVP). Second, it adds scale in important international markets. Tupperware Brands derives more than 60% of its sales from outside North America. Finally, adding another business segment reduces the company's dependence on sales of plastic wares.

Guiding higher
For the second quarter, Tupperware expects 3% to 5% sales growth and earnings about the same as last year. For the year, the company guided analysts to mid-single-digit sales growth, and EPS growth of 3% to 6%. This is probably not enough to light a fire for growth investors, but it shows the company is getting its operations on track.

The risks of investing in this company are the effects of foreign currency fluctuations (since most of its revenue comes from abroad) and high debt levels from the acquisition. The company did pay down $24 million of debt over the last year, reducing its debt-to-total capitalization ratio from 63% to 61%. That's still a pretty high level, but with a solid and predictable cash flow, Tupperware should be able to continue servicing the debt while whittling away at the principal.

The upside is a dividend of 3.5%, plus the occasional earnings surprise, as happened this quarter. The Motley Fool CAPS community likes the stock, with All-Stars rating the stock "outperform" by a huge margin. Until I hear that the subprime lending debacle has extended its reach into the plastic vegetable-container segment, I view Tupperware Brands as a relatively predictable investment for all you party animals.

Read up on these articles before your next Tupperware party:

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Fool contributor Timothy M. Otte surveys the retail scene from Dallas. He welcomes comments on his articles, but doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy keeps food fresh.