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Rayovac Battery Sales Up 2%

Atlanta —Rayovac’s North American battery sales showed modest growth, rising 2 percent in the company’s fiscal first quarter.

Overall North American sales slid to $215.8 million, down from $233.8 million in the year-ago period. The battery maker cited a “challenging retailing environment” in its North American market for much of the decrease. Worldwide, battery sales increased 12 percent.

Segment profit for North America at Rayovac rose 22 percent to $41.3 million in the quarter, ended Jan. 2, up from $33.9 million in the same three months in 2003.

Fourth quarter consolidated sales at Rayovac, which includes the company’s blade and razor business, as well as batteries, increased 8.1 percent to $490.8 million from a year-ago $454 million. Operating income climbed 23.3 percent to $61.3 million from $49.7 million.

First-quarter net income was $27.9 million, compared with $22.2 million in the same three months a year earlier. Primary drivers of the increase were increasing sales in Europe and Latin America, a favorable currency translation and synergies resulting form the integration of the Remington razor company within Madison,Wis.-based Rayovac.