Top Companies Report

21. Blyth

July 11, 2011

Greenwich, CT


Sales: $900 million


$900 million. Net income: $25 million for the year ended Jan. 31, 2011.

Key Personnel:

Robert B. Goergen, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert H. Barghaus, vice president and chief financial officer; Anne M. Butler, vice president and president, PartyLite Worldwide; Robert B. Goergen Jr., vice president and president, Multichannel Group; Jane F. Casey, vice president, treasurer; Joseph T. Cirillo, vice president, reporting & planning; Michael S. Novins, vice president and general counsel; Tyler P. Schuessler, vice president, organizational development and investor relations.

Major Products:

Home fragrances including PartyLite, Easy Comforts, Colonial Candle and Sterno. Personal care brands include As We Change, Easy Comforts, ViSalus Sciences and Walter Drake.


Corporate sales continue to slide at Blyth. Last year, sales dropped 6% and have fallen more than $300 million since 2007. The decrease in the most recently concluded fiscal year is a result of lower sales in PartyLite’s North American business as well as the impact of weaker European currencies versus the US dollar. This decrease was partially offset by an increase in sales in Blyth’s wholesale segment. International sales represented 45% of total sales. Taking a closer look at the results, PartyLite’s sales fell 25%, which Blyth blamed on continued weakness in consumer discretionary spending and a decline in active independent sales consultants.

Blyth’s decline mirrors the declining popularity of candles, which peaked in the middle of the past decade, but have been declining for several years. According to Kline, candles’ share of the $3.3 billion home fragrance market has declined from 50% in 2000 to about 43% in 2010. Last year, Blyth was the No. 5 player in the candle category, trailing such well known candle makers as Yankee Candle and SC Johnson.

For the first quarter ended April 30, 2011, sales rose ever so slightly from $185.3 million to $185.5 million.

“We had a difficult first quarter driven by lower PartyLite sales versus last year as our core consumer was negatively impacted by rising gasoline and food prices,” said Robert B. Goergen, chairman and CEO. “These increased expenses have a direct impact on consumer discretionary spending and make it increasingly challenging for PartyLite consultants and leaders to book and hold shows.

“Moreover, higher commodity prices, increasing Asian-sourced product costs and higher ocean freight expense versus last year have also impacted Blyth’s costs which resulted in disappointing first quarter profits,” he added.

Blyth posted a first quarter loss of $5 million, compared to a loss of $2 million the previous year.

In May, Blyth completed the sale of Midwest-CBK, its premium wholesale seasonal decorations and home decor business, to MVP Group International, a manufacturer of private label candles and home fragrance products.

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