Like one of its signature plastic storage containers, Tupperware
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
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
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
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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.