Like one of its signature plastic storage containers, Tupperware (NYSE:TUP) looks pretty on the outside. The company closed out the year with all four quarters showing profit improvement over 2003, and its hefty 4.3% dividend payout was enough to temporarily intrigue our Income Investor newsletter guru Mathew Emmert when the shares were cheaper -- and the yield higher. Closing out 2004 with an 81% improvement in earnings per share? Beautiful!

Yet crack open the storage container's seal, and you'll find that things aren't so fresh when you take a look inside the numbers. Favorable foreign exchange rates and lower hedging costs accounted for a whopping $0.35 a share in profits during 2004. And, sure, it's nice to see the company grow its gunning-for-Avon (NYSE:AVP) BeautiControl line domestically and its business overseas, but its bread-and-butter Tupperware business is still a lousy stateside performer.

If you back out the currency impact, you see that sales for the year actually fell by 2%. This was mostly the result of the waning popularity of its North American Tupperware business, as sales here fell by 15%. Its direct-sales force is dwindling, and that only drives home what a big mistake Tupperware made when it broke off its sales alliance with Target (NYSE:TGT) a couple of years ago to appease its direct sellers.

So let's try to nip another potential mistake in the bud, shall we? Tupperware, do your investors a favor and spin off BeautiControl -- sooner rather than later. The division is doing great, with sales soaring by 37% this past quarter -- an accelerated pace from the 27% top-line spurt that BeautiControl had for all of 2004. While its operating margins of 11% are nothing to write home about, it's the one area domestically that's recruiting well and riding the same favorable spa-products wave that has led to shares of Rule Breakers stock recommendation Steiner Leisure (NASDAQ:STNR) appreciating nicely.

Do you like stocks with fleshy yields? What are some good high-yielding equities that aren't as likely to fall if interest rates rise? All this and more -- in the Investing for Income discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no beef with plastic storage products that extend the life of edibles. He owns no shares in any company mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.