(By Balachander) Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ: HELE) posted a rise in earnings and sales for the third quarter amid improvement of margins, though the consumer products company reduced its sales forecast for the full year. Earnings topped market expectations, while sales missed consensus.
The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company earned $1.18 a share for the quarter, up from $1.04 per share in the comparable period of last year. Wall Street analysts, on average, expected HELE to earn $1.13 a share. Net earnings increased 15 percent to $37.72 million.
Sales rose 10.6 percent to $374.6 million, versus consensus estimate of an increase of 11.90 percent.
Gross profit margin improved 0.3 percentage point to 39.6 percent.
Looking forward for the full year, the company continues to expect earnings per share in the range of $3.50 to $3.60, while analysts expect $3.56. Sales are currently projected between $1.275 billion and $1.3 billion, down from $1.3 billion and $1.325 billion guided earlier and consensus estimates of $1.29 billion.
"While we are very pleased with our results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013, we continue to see challenges ahead and are uncertain of the potential impact of changes in consumer spending patterns resulting from recent and pending domestic tax changes and Federal legislation," commented CEO Gerald Rubin.
Helen of Troy operates in three segments: personal care, housewares and healthcare/home environment.
For the second quarter, Helen of Troy earned 72 cents a share on sales of $287 million.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $28.02 to $35.35, closed Tuesday's regular trading at $33.53.