WD-40 shows growth in first quarter
San Diego-based WD-40 Company reported gains in sales and net income in the first quarter and also the largest sales quarter in the company’s history.
WD-40 sales for the quarter ended Nov. 30 were $95.5 million, up slightly from $95.3 million in the same quarter last year. Net income of $11.5 million was up 5% from $10.9 million.
"We are pleased that we were able to improve our gross margin in the quarter, which was in part due to our supply chain improvement initiatives," said CEO Garry Ridge.
The company is focusing primarily on multi-purpose maintenance products, which include WD-40 and 3-IN-ONE brand. The company says it is deemphasizing homecare and cleaning products, which were down 15% in the first quarter. Among the homecare products are Carpet Fresh, No Vac, Spot Shot and Lava.
In 2012, the company launched WD-40 Specialist product line. In the first quarter, the line was expanded to eight additional countries, including Australia and Turkey.
Milwaukee rolls out a jobsite marker
Milwaukee Tool Corp. expanded its hand tool offering with Inkzall Jobsite Markers, a new line of writing tools designed and optimized for jobsite use. Featuring clog-resistant tips and aptly named Inkzall for their ability to write through dusty, wet or oily surfaces, the new line will include fine and medium point permanent markers, as well as a stylus/marker combination tool that was designed for use with gloves on touch devices, such as iPads and iPhones.
The new Inkzall products will launch in February 2014.
“Most professionals have a permanent marker with them at all times, but the options available today were simply not designed for the materials and rough conditions on a jobsite,” says Bobby Shaw, group product manager for Milwaukee Tool. “The No. 1 complaint is that competitive marker tips do not keep their shape and easily ‘mushroom.’ The new Milwaukee Inkzall markers were specifically designed to alleviate this problem with durable tips that hold up to use on rough surfaces, such as OSB, cinderblock and concrete.”
For added user convenience, the markers were optimized with a proprietary ink for faster drying times to reduce smearing markings, without drying out quickly when the cap is left off.
Survey reveals mixed-bag of confidence
In comparing current sales levels with year-ago levels, 67% of respondents to the recent American Hardware Manufacturers Association survey said sales were higher in December versus year-ago levels. That’s down from 75% in November.
Also for December, 28% reported sales were even, and 6% said sales were below year-ago levels.
Looking forward six months, 72% of December respondents said they expect sales to be above current levels, up from 65% in November. In December, 28% of respondents said they expect sales to be even in six months, and zero expect sales to be below current levels.
“With the housing sector of the home improvement industry beginning to show signs of sustainable recovery, and many other economic indicators pointing toward a more robust rate of growth, most of our manufacturer members enter 2014 with a sense of optimism,” said Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA, based in Schaumburg, Ill. “It is especially encouraging to find in this month’s survey that 72% of our members expect sales levels to increase over the next six months.”
Looking forward one year, 61% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 70% who felt that way in November. Thirty-nine percent of December respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and zero project sales will be below current levels.