St. Louis — Higher volumes of Energizer Max, lithium and rechargeable batteries led the fiscal first-quarter revenue parade at Energizer Holdings, with North American battery segment revenue climbing 4 percent during the three months, to $386.4 million, up from a year-ago $369.9 million.
These higher volumes were partially offset by unfavorable pricing and product mix due to price declines of non-Energizer-brand products and the continuing shift to larger pack sizes. Because of these trends, North American battery segment profit increased minimally to $117.2 million, compared with a year-on-year $115 million, as improved gross margin was partially offset by higher advertising and promotion.
Retail alkaline batteries in the United States increased in unit movement by 2 percent in the first quarter, ended Dec. 31, compared with the same three months in 2003, while category value fell 2 percent in the same time frame, said Energizer. Retail consumption of the company’s alkaline cells climbed 5 percent in unit movement, while dollar value was essentially flat.
Overall Energizer sales of alkaline cells in the first quarter hit $447.7 million, up from $425.7 million year-on-year. Carbon zinc sales for the period rose to $72.3 million, up from $69.4 million in the same three months a year earlier.
Consolidated Energizer revenue jumped 8 percent, hitting $875.9 million, up from $811.7 million in the first quarter of 2003. Net first-quarter earnings for the battery, razor and blade maker reached $121.7 million, up from $115 million year-over-year.