Alberto-Culver Company announced record sales and earnings from continuing operations for its second quarter and first half of fiscal year 2008, reporting that its gross profit margin increased to 53.4% compared to 52.1% in the prior year quarter, mainly due to more effective inventory management and manufacturing efficiencies. Advertising and other marketing investments increased 5.4% during the quarter to $76.4 million from $72.4 million in the prior year quarter. Selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales increased 50 basis points to 25.1% compared to 24.6% in the prior year quarter mainly due to higher expenditures related to the planned implementation of a new worldwide ERP system, costs associated with the start-up of our Jonesboro, Arkansas manufacturing facility and higher stock option expense.
"Our strong performance this quarter was due to the continued growth of TRESemme as well as growth in other beauty care brands, including St Ives, and multicultural brands Motions and Soft and Beautiful," said V. James Marino, president and CEO, Alberto-Culver. "We are very pleased with the profitable sales and earnings growth generated, especially when considering last year's second quarter launch of TRESemme in Mexico as well as significant pipeline shipments of Nexxus in the club channel in the prior year and the lapping of restructuring savings.
"I am particularly proud that in the U.S., TRESemme and Nexxus' consumer consumption rates, a critical measure of the health of our brands, both increased at double-digit rates during the latest 12 and 52 week periods, far outpacing the category. In a challenging retail environment, characterized by mixed consumption trends, we were able to deliver another record quarter of sales and earnings growth for our shareholders."