Personal-care-product specialist Nu Skin Enterprises
Earnings for the quarter were $0.24 a share -- excluding restructuring charges from closing operations in Brazil -- versus $0.20 a year ago. The United States, Europe, and South Korea performed well for the company, with double-digit sales increases. But revenue rose only 1%, hurt in part by foreign currency translations.
Japan continues to struggle, with the top line there falling 6% in local currencies. Management has made leadership changes in the region and expects things to improve over the longer term. Meanwhile, in China, obtaining a direct-selling license is taking longer than anticipated. The company received initial direct-selling approval in Beijing, but it's still working to secure final local approvals. Given how long it's taken to get to this point, don't be surprised if this process is delayed, too. Management hopes to see improvements in the second half in China, but for this quarter, the top line fell 3% in local currency.
Management expects to strut its stuff at the global distributor convention in September. Company executives are hoping that some of its new rollouts -- including new branding and sales initiatives, a new weight-management product line in the United States, an advanced version of its Nu Skin ProDerm Skin Analyzer, and updates to its Galvanic Spa System II -- will help to plump the bottom line. Ultimately, the company expects revenue for the coming quarter to be $285 million to $290 million and earnings per share to come in within a range of $0.22 to $0.24.
"Other income," mainly from currency gains, did help to boost the bottom line by $900,000 this quarter, and it aided in reversing a $1.4 million loss from a year earlier. And a lower share count helped boost per-share earnings -- by my calculations, it added $0.02 to diluted earnings per share. It's hard to fault a company for buying back stock, but even though buybacks can be a good use of capital, improved operations are a better way to boost performance.
New initiatives may indeed help future results, but there are too many uncertainties for me at this point, and too much of a wait-and-see attitude. Competition may get tougher as Avon Products
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Fool contributor Larry Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and he promises to read it when he's not being wrestled by his three children. Feel free to email him at email@example.com. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned.