Alberto Culver Company announced that net sales for the first quarter increased 2.8% to $352.8 million, compared to $343.2 million in the previous year quarter. Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rates and the acquisition of Noxzema, organic sales increased 9.5% in the first quarter. Pre-tax earnings from continuing operations increased 37.3% to $60.6 million, up from $44.1 million in the previous year quarter.
"We are very pleased to begin fiscal year 2009 with another successful quarter of sales and pre-tax earnings growth," said V. James Marino, president and CEO, Alberto Culver. "Overall, we continue to drive strong organic sales and earnings growth and increase our hair care market share in this difficult environment."
The company's gross profit margin contracted 40 basis points to 51.6% compared to 52.0% in the previous year quarter, mainly due to higher raw material costs that were largely offset by manufacturing efficiencies and favorable product mix. Advertising and other marketing investments decreased 12.6% to $49.4 million in the quarter, primarily due to foreign currency which accounted for 8.4% of the decrease and timing of fiscal year 2009 initiatives.
"We expect advertising and marketing investments to accelerate in subsequent quarters behind several key initiatives across the business," said Marino.
Additional information, including charts, is available here.