It's football season, and fans are sure to see CNS's (NASDAQ:CNXS) Breathe Right nasal strips affixed to players' noses. They help the players breathe, and they have been breathing life into Motley Fool Hidden Gems guest recommendation CNS for years.

The company's earnings report was mixed today, though. The flagship Breathe Right franchise, 86% of sales, looked winded with a 5.5% sales decline. FiberChoice, a daily fiber supplement, grew 15%. (Tight product synergies, right?)

Net income of $0.24 a share beat analyst estimates by $0.05 and the top end of the company's guidance. But the decline in Breathe Right sales left income $0.05 a share below the year-ago quarter. Investors liked the news and sent the stock up 2% in early trading.

The company left its full-year earnings guidance at up to $0.68 a share (or 17 times forward earnings). It earned $0.59 last year.

CNS might be overlooked if it wasn't for its $52 million in cash and no debt. That's $3.54 a share in cash for an $11.30 stock. That's very healthy. So is the company's share repurchase program, which has retired 20% of the outstanding shares, and its shareholder-friendly stock option program with only 1% stock dilution a year.

Not healthy is the 5.8% increase in accounts receivable. With sales declining, the focus should be on getting money into the company. But, with more than 25% of sales coming from retailer-to-the-world Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the company does do business with deep-pocket retailers.

CNS's peak quarters -- cold and flu season -- are coming. Because the company exceeded its earnings target for the latest quarter, management has credibility when it projects much better earnings to come.

CNS follows an old business model -- be No. 1 in your product category and sell like mad. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) does that, and even with a heavy debt load, it trades for 23 times earnings. It's a similar story with Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) and Clorox (NYSE:CLX). Lilliputian but cash-rich CNS may not get the respect a higher multiple brings, but it does provide a 1.8% dividend (similar to the big boys) to remind shareholders that it is a money machine built on breathing lots of fresh air.

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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned.