Second-quarter profits at Alberto-Culver Co. jumped 28.7 percent to $29 million, from $22.6 million last year, on sales that rose 7.7 percent, the company said Monday.
Executives attributed the strong results to the firm's TRESemmé hair care and St. Ives skin care brands, as well as its ethnic brands, Motions and Soft & Beautiful.
Earnings per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31 came in at 28 cents, compared with 23 cents in the same period a year ago, meeting Wall Street analysts' expectations for the current period, according to Yahoo Finance.
Second-quarter revenues reached $412.8 million, compared with $383.4 million in the year-ago period.
"This was a very good quarter," V. James Marino, president and chief executive officer of Alberto-Culver, told analysts during a conference call Monday morning. "We either met or exceeded our expectations," he continued, adding that the firm is pleased with the direction and positioning of its brands, as well as its margins.
The firm's gross profit margin rose to 53.4 percent of sales from 52.1 percent a year ago. Operating profits were up 17.5 percent to $38.3 million, while advertising and other marketing investments rose 5.4 percent to $76.4 million.
Marino noted the firm was in the early stages of introducing TRESemmé in Spain, which he said was the world's 11th largest hair care market. "It did very well in pretests there," Marino said of TRESemmé. "We think this brand can play very well in Western Europe."
The company expects advertising and marketing expenses to account for a higher percentage of sales during the upcoming third and fourth fiscal quarters as it supports the launch of TRESemmé in Spain.
During the first half of fiscal 2008, earnings vaulted more than threefold to $59.9 million, from $16.7 million in the first half a year ago, as restructuring and other expenses plunged. Sales came in at $813.4 million, a 10.7 percent increase from $734.5 million in the first half of fiscal 2007.
— Matthew W. Evans
U.K. Questions Firms on Pricing
LONDON — Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser have been contacted by the U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading, which is reportedly investigating allegations of price fixing — of health and beauty products and groceries — between suppliers and retailers here."We can confirm that P&G was visited by the OFT on Thursday," stated P&G. "Consistent with our principles, we are fully cooperating with their inquiries. We do not have any additional information to share at this stage, save to say that it is P&G's policy to fully abide by the spirit and letter of the law."
A spokesman for Unilever also confirmed the company had been contacted, and that it is in the process of collating a response. Reckitt Benckiser stated it had been sent a request for limited information.
Supermarkets, including Tesco, ASDA and Sainsburys, said they were cooperating with the OFT's investigation. A spokeswoman for the Morrisons supermarket chain declined comment Monday, as did a spokeswoman for the OFT.
Beiersdorf Sees Cost Reduction
BERLIN — The realignment of Beiersdorf's consumer supply chain is bringing the German consumer goods giant a reduction in costs to 15 million euros, or $23.6 million at current exchange, instead of 30 million euros, or $47.2 million, of outstanding expenses in 2008.
In reviewing the project, which began in 2005, Beiersdorf said "new circumstances have lead the board...to revise the initial estimates." Beiersdorf originally earmarked 220 million euros, or $345.8 million, for the realignment, but now expects costs to amount to 200 million euros, or $314.4 million.
The remaining financial impact of the overhaul is slated for 2008, with only minor expenses foreseen for 2009. Cost savings targets arising from the realignment remain unchanged, with a savings of 70 million euros, or $110 million, foreseen for 2008 and 100 million euros, or $157.2 million, annually from 2009 onward.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye