Unemployment rate slips to 9.2%
A disappointing report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning showed the nation’s unemployment rate slipped to 9.2% in June, up from 9.1% in May.
Only 18,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added in June, according to the Employment Situation summary, released Friday morning.
Construction employment, which fell sharply during the 2007-to-2009 period, was "essentially unchanged" in June. It has shown little change since early 2010, the report said.
Since March, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 545,000, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.4 percentage points.
WD-40 posts mixed results in third quarter
San Diego-based WD-40 Co. posted third-quarter net sales of $85.5 million, an increase of 4% compared with the same quarter last year. Net income, however, slipped 12% to $8.1 million for the quarter ended May 31.
CEO Garry Ridge pointed to increases in commodity prices that have negatively impacted the company’s gross margin, which was 49.3% in the third quarter, compared with 51.2% in the same quarter last year.
"To help improve our margins, we are implementing price increases in some markets late this fiscal year, working to bring innovation to the market sooner, and focusing our marketing efforts on increasing product usage among our heavy users to pull more product off the shelf," Ridge said.
The company’s multi-purpose maintenance products — a group that includes the namesake WD-40 brand, as well as 3-IN-ONE and Blue Works brands — saw third-quarter sales increase 7% to $72.7 million. All other brands were down 12%.
Ridge said the company has high hopes for the development of the new WD-40 Specialist line targeting tradesmen and serious DIYers. The first three products in the line will begin shipping in the United States at the end of the fiscal year.
Increasingly, WD-40 is a global brand. "We continue to see our focus on global expansion pay off as we now have 60% of our total sales year-to-date outside the United States."
Shares of Lumber Liquidators take a tumble
Share prices of Lumber Liquidators took a dive Thursday, after the Toano, Va.-based company lowered its earnings and revenue forecasts.
The company announced that it expects earnings of 18 cents to 20 cents per share for the second quarter, down from 32 cents in the same quarter last year. Net sales for the full year are now expected in the range of $670 million to $700 million, down from a previous range of $700 million to $730 million.
The share price of the hardwood floor retailer ended Thursday at $18.32, down 28.6% on the day.
In a prepared statement, Lumber Liquidators president Jeffrey Griffiths said: “Our second-quarter net sales were weaker than expected as we believe value-conscious consumers became more price sensitive and cautious in their discretionary spending." He said pressures challenging large-ticket purchases may continue to be volatile into the second half of the year.
The company will release its full second-quarter results on July 26.