Blyth, Inc. said second quarter sales fell 32% to $211.7 million primarily due to lower sales at ViSalus and, to a lesser extent, at PartyLite, while Miles Kimball reported a sales improvement. Blyth's operating profit for the second quarter was $1.2 million this year versus $17.8 million last year, largely driven by the decline in sales.
Sales of candles & home decor, consisting of PartyLite, fell 12% to $77.8 million. This decline reflects the lower levels of sales consultants in many of the larger, more mature markets, partially offset by double digit growth in Australia.
"We continue to see evidence that focusing on direct-to-consumer sales is the right strategy for Blyth and that our investments in technology are a critical underpinning to that strategy," insisted Robert B. Goergen, chairman and chief executive officer.
He noted that Blyth has been selling candles and home decor products profitably for 40 years through the traditional party plan model. Now, technology investments are helping PartyLite Consultants grow their businesses by making it easier to do business with PartyLite through online shopping, consultant websites and direct-to-customer shipping.
"Moreover, ViSalus, technology-driven from inception, is a significant business in North America, the results of which demonstrate the importance of diversifying its product portfolio and penetrating the global marketplace," said Goergen. "To that end, its upcoming new product releases of Vi Crunch™ Protein Super Cereal and Vi Crunch™ Fusions Flavor Toppings, and its entrance into international markets, which began in April with the U.K., should continue to offer compelling business opportunities for its Promoters."
For the six months, sales declined 23% to $444.8 million.