Alberto-Culver Company today announced that net sales for the first quarter increased 14.1% to $400.7 million, and pre-tax income from continuing operations increased to $43.5 million from a loss of $1.3 million in the prior year quarter. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to 29 cents from zero in the prior year quarter.
"Our record performance this quarter was due to the continued success of TRESemme in each of our major markets and growth in several of our brands, including Nexxus," said V. James Marino, president and CEO, Alberto-Culver. "In our beauty care markets outside the U.S., we generated strong sales and earnings growth. Our robust pre-tax earnings growth rate was driven partly by our restructuring savings, which we begin lapping next quarter, gross margin improvements, increased interest income and certain one-time benefits. In addition, we also shifted some of our planned marketing spending to subsequent quarters. We are very pleased with these results and look forward to continuing our momentum for the remainder of 2008."
The company reported that its gross profit margin increased to 52.6% compared to 51.5% in the prior year quarter, mainly due to favorable product mix and more efficient inventory management. Advertising and other marketing investments increased 10.8% during the quarter to $67.5 million from $61.0 million in the prior year quarter. Selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales were reduced 130 basis points to 24.4% compared to 25.7% in the prior year quarter.