Blyth, Inc. reported that net sales for the first quarter (ended April 30, 2008) declined approximately 8% to $249.8 million, compared to $270.4 million for the prior year period. Excluding the sales of the Blyth HomeScents International (BHI) North American mass channel candle business, divested in the first quarter of last year, first quarter Net Sales declined 1%. International sales represented 41% of total sales in the first quarter this year and 32% last year, reflecting strong growth overall in PartyLite's international markets, lower sales within PartyLite U.S. and the BHI divestiture. Foreign exchange had a 5 percentage point favorable impact on first quarter Net Sales.
"The continued deterioration of the macroeconomic environment and its impact on consumer spending had an immediate and decisive impact on sales across Blyth's U.S. businesses," said Robert B. Goergen, chairman and CEO. "Moreover, cost increases for commodities such as wax and increased paper, postage and freight expenses made achieving our first quarter profit targets very challenging. Despite these obstacles, we are very pleased that PartyLite Europe continues to grow, with the French and Nordic markets being particular bright spots."
Normalized earnings per share are still expected to be in the range of $1.45 to $1.50 for fiscal year 2009.
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