I still believe that Helen of Troy
This was another quarter of wading through oatmeal for this maker of personal care and household goods. Sales were up a little more than 2%, but margins fell once again. In fact, operating income was actually down nearly 30% from the year-ago period, due in large part to higher selling, general, and administrative expenses. On a slightly more positive note, the company reported that EBITDA fell only 15% from the year-ago quarter.
I found the sales breakdown to be interesting. Personal-care sales were up nearly 5% -- a performance that the company chalked up to its efforts to sell more higher-priced goods (presumably through retail outlets like Wal-Mart
What concerns me a bit more, though, is the performance of the housewares business (that is, the OXO business). Sales here were down more than 6% from the year-ago period. The company blamed lower shipment volumes and some problems that required price concessions. Now, I always figured that growth here had to slow eventually, but I'll certainly be keen on seeing how the next quarter shapes up for this business.
It's odd to me to see so many of the smaller branded-products companies struggling. Spectrum Brands
For more related Foolishness:
- Uneven Progress at Helen of Troy
- Better Days in Sight for Church & Dwight
- A Broad Spectrum of Disappointment
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).