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Scotts lowers forecast as consumers hold back

BY Ken Clark

Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro said it expects to report a 2% decline in sales for fiscal 2011 when it issues its full-year financial results Nov. 8.

The sales shortfall, coupled with associated gross margin pressure, will likely result in adjusted net earnings in a range of approximately $2.70 to $2.75 per share, according to the company. The company had forecast earnings of about $3.00 per share back in August.

The reduced outlook stems primarily from an unexpected year-over-year decline in consumer purchases in the United States during September.

"While we were counting on another strong fall lawn care season, the weather issues that plagued us throughout fiscal 2011 remained problematic during the fourth quarter," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. "The impact of Hurricane Irene and other inclement weather in September all but eliminated lawn and garden activity in key markets during a critical period of our fall season, not only in our consumer business but for Scotts LawnService as well."

When the weather was good, so was business, Hagedorn said. "But the combination of weather, commodities and challenges in the mass merchant channel were just too much to overcome in a single season," he said.

He added that the company remains optimistic about its innovations coming to market in 2012.

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Industry Dashboard for Oct. 10, 2011

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Consumer Watch section of the Dashboard shows unemployment and Consumer Confidence stuck in the mud. Gas prices, though, are quickly dropping.  

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NPD looks into Sam’s Club POS data

BY Ken Clark

The NPD signed a point-of-sale cooperation agreement with Sam’s Club, the Wal-Mart Stores division, to receive and analyze sales information from Sam’s Club U.S. clubs and SamsClub.com.

Under the agreement, NPD will receive point-of-sale data from Sam’s Club, increasing NPD’s tracking coverage for clubs and e-commerce and providing its clients with a more robust view of market activity in these channels. NPD will also become Sam’s Club’s primary provider of point-of-sale and consumer panel information in the General Merchandise categories.

“This expanded partnership with NPD will allow us to better understand what our members are looking for in general merchandise and then use that knowledge to work with suppliers to meet those wants and needs,” said Cindy Davis, executive VP of Walmart global customer insights.

The NPD Group offers point-of-sale information and insights for a wide range of industry sectors based on information provided by more than 900 retailers representing 150,000 retail doors worldwide. NPD chairman and CEO Tod Johnson  said: “We look forward to building our relationship with Sam’s Club and the benefits that this will bring to our retailer and manufacturer clients. As the marketplace evolves and consumers look online for more of their shopping needs, we are committed to offering more insight into e-commerce."

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