By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Favorable pricing and product mix helped increase fiscal fourth quarter North American sales by 1 percent at Energizer Holdings. The battery maker recorded sales of $267.7 million for the three months, ended Sept. 30, up from $265.3 million in the year-ago period.
Operating profit in North America rose to $65.3 million for the fourth quarter, up from $53 million in the same period in 2001, reflecting higher margins, offset by a $5 million bad-debt expense.
For the 12 months, Energizer North American sales jumped 7 percent, to $1 billion, up from $970.3 million in the past year. Segment profit moved up to $286.2 million, compared with $202.4 million the previous year, reflecting higher margin and lower overhead and advertising expenses.
Fourth quarter sales of alkaline batteries, by far Energizer's largest category, reached $301.4 million, up from $292.1 million in the same three months in 2001. For the year, alkaline battery sales hit $1.2 billion, compared with $1.1 billion the previous year.
Energizer carbon-zinc battery sales came in at $60.5 million in the fourth quarter, about flat with the $59.6 million reported in the fourth quarter of last year. For the 12 months, carbon-zinc battery sales slipped to $243.2 million, down from $263.4 million the previous year.
Energizer said that for the fourth quarter and the year, all geographic segments benefited from lower product costs — reflecting lower material and variable costs, the impact of restructuring activities undertaken in the fourth quarter of 2001 and improved plant operating levels, compared with last year.
In the United States, improved unit volume vs. a poor 2001 drove the top line, said Energizer CEO Pat Mulcahy. "We opportunistically managed our trade spending in a very intense promotional environment and were able to protect share without sacrificing profitability.
Overall sales for the fourth quarter hit $442.4 million, up 2 percent from the $432.7 million reported in the year-ago three months. Energizer moved into the black during the fourth quarter, with net earnings reaching $56.2, compared with a loss of $114.5 million in the fourth quarter in 2001.
Sales for the 12 months increased 3 percent, hitting $1.74 billion, up from $1.70 billion year over year. Net earnings reached $186.4 million in the 12 months, compared with a 2001 net loss of $39 million.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.