Amid challenges, Fortune Brands posts sales gains

Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands Home & Security reported mix results for the fourth quarter.

The company posted net sales of $876 million, up 4% from the prior-year quarter. Net income was a loss of $68.4 million, compared with earnings of $11.2 million in the same quarter last year.

“Our sales growth continued in the fourth quarter, despite a market for our products that remained challenging. Overall, we performed at the high end of our expectations, and we believe we continue to outperform the market for our products,” said Chris Klein, CEO, Fortune Brands Home & Security. “We continued to see solid sales increases, ranging from mid-single digits to low-double digits, in our Security & Storage, Plumbing, and Cabinets segments, thanks to our ongoing innovation and market expansion activities. Our Windows & Door segment was impacted again by lower window sales lapping relatively high year-ago comparisons, due to the energy tax credit that expired at the end of 2010. In total, adjusted pro forma operating income was up slightly, reflecting the continued promotional environment in our Cabinets segment and softness in our Windows & Door segment.”

Security & Storage net sales were up 13%, on increased sales of Master Lock padlocks and safety products, as well as Husky garage organization products.

Plumbing & Accessories net sales were up 8%, with strength in U.S. retail and wholesale channels, as well as Canada and China.

Kitchen & Bath Cabinetry net sales were up 5%, driven by growth in new business.

Advanced Material Windows & Door Systems net sales were down 11%. An increase in door sales, helped in part by growth in Canada and a recently launched exclusive relationship with a major window & door brand in which Therma-Tru will be making all of their entry door panels, was offset by a sharp decline of more than 20% in window sales. The company believes last year’s energy tax credit pulled substantial windows demand forward into 2010.

For the full year, sales increased 3% to $3.3 billion. The company posted a loss of $33.0 million for the year, compared with earnings of $63.8 million in 2010.

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