Lower sales within its ViSalus wellness unit drove Blyth's first quarter results down 25% to $175.7 million. Company executives blamed the first quarter decline on ViSalus's lower level of promoters versus the prior year. Still, the company said it was encouraged by the fact that the March 31st worldwide promoter count marked an increase over year-end by approximately 3%, with both new European promoters and, more importantly North American promoters, increasing during the first quarter.
Moreover, CEO Robert B. Goergen Jr. said the company is beginning to see evidence that consultants are embracing the multi-channel approach to selling 'candles, complemented by efforts to drive product innovation with offerings like SmartScents, a spill-proof alternative to liquid reed diffuser oils and Brighter World Candles which benefit directly the local communities where the essential fragrance oils are sourced by supporting local education programs, sustainable agricultural practices and regional conservation efforts.
"These initiatives, in conjunction with our continued focus on leveraging technology to ensure the ease of doing business with PartyLite, are facilitating our efforts to attract and retain consultants and customers," said Goergen. "Worldwide, the low single digit consultant count declines of the past three quarters represented the most favorable year-over-year trends in the last five years."
Blyth's operating loss for the first quarter was $2.6 million this year versus profit of $6.0 million last year, largely driven by the decline in sales. The company reported a net loss of $2.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014 compared to income of $2.6 million in the comparable prior year period.
More info: Blyth Inc., www.blyth.com