May showers fell particularly hard on three companies that reported weak earnings during the month. Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN) performed so badly that the company hired Goldman Sachs to consider its strategic options. . Nu Skin Enterprises (NYSE:NUS) moved past a controversy but not back into investor favor. SodaStream's (NASDAQ:SODA) bad year continued with poor holiday sales.
What were the details behind May's suffering consumer-goods stocks?
Elizabeth Arden seeks assistance
Shares of beauty giant Elizabeth Arden dropped 26% in May following a dismal third-quarter report. Elizabeth Arden then admitted to hiring Goldman Sachs to help explore the company's options, which could include a sale of either the under-performing perfume segment or the entire business.
How bad was the third-quarter report? Analysts had expected sales of about $256 million while Arden reported $211 million -- down 20% year-over-year. Sales in North America were down 23% compared to a 16% drop internationally. Diluted net loss per share was $0.89 compared to the positive $0.02 EPS from last year's quarter.
Analysts project fourth-quarter revenue of $242 million, which would mark a year-over-year drop of nearly 10%, and EPS of $0.33. Also, there's no guarantee that the Goldman Sachs assistance will lead to any actual deals so Elizabeth Arden shares could continue to suffer for months to come.
Nu Skin returns to China, but shares still suffer
Nu Skin was down 14% in May as weak second-quarter guidance deflated the news that the company has moved past its troubles in China.
The personal-care company was under investigation by Chinese authorities, who were concerned that the multilevel marketing structure was actually a pyramid scheme. Shares of both Nu Skin and competitor Herbalife slid down. Nu Skin announced in May's first-quarter report that the company has newly recommenced business as usual in China.
However, the second-quarter guidance didn't convince investors that Nu Skin's worries were over. Nu Skin said the fresh return to the Chinese market made for difficult forecasting but put current second-quarter estimates at $700 million in revenue and $1.25 EPS. The analyst consensus had been for $719 million and $1.29, respectively.
SodaStream loses steam
SodaStream met first-quarter revenue estimates with its to line coming in at $118 million and beat its EPS estimates by $0.03 with $0.17. However, the shares were down 12% in the quarter due to weak holiday sales of the soda makers and a steep decline in the U.S. segment, which accounts for about 30% of overall revenue.
The carbonated brewing company has had a rough year. Keurig Green Mountain announced a multi-year, exclusive deal with The Coca-Cola Company for a forthcoming SodaStream competitor called Keurig Cold. Also, hiring actress Scarlett Johansson as global ambassador backfired when her charity work brought more attention to SodaStream's facility in the disputed West Bank region. May focused even more attention on that facility as The Verge ran an in-depth profile of those operations.
However, the main reasons for the investor exodus were in that first-quarter report. Net income was down a whopping 85% from the prior year's quarter. U.S. total sales were down 28% while global sales of starter kits were down 25%. The brightest spot in the quarter's results was carbon dioxide refill tanks with the number of units sold up 22% year-over-year.
SodaStream claims it's not worried about the Keurig Cold. However, the weak device sales over the pivotal holiday period spell trouble even without the increased competition.
Foolish final thoughts
Companies sometimes have bad months because investors overreact to news items. However, that's not the case for Elizabeth Arden, Nu Skin, and SodaStream. The three companies each have substantial business problems that could continue into future quarters.