Blyth 3Q Sales Fall, Cuts Full-Year Outlook

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Hurt by sluggish sales, Blyth (NYSE:BTH) slipped about 11% Friday after lowering its fiscal 2011 guidance amid tepid third-quarter earnings.

Revenue for the Greenwich, Conn-based company was $215.5 million, down 3% from $221.6 million a year ago, though still beating the Street’s view of $195.7 million.

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Lower sales were led by softer volume in PartyLite, its catalog and Internet units, and food service, offset by gains in its ViSalus Sciences and Midwest-CBK businesses.

Robert B. Goergen, Blyth's chief executive, said sales growth fell below management's expectations, attributing the losses to a “challenging economic environment” in both North America and Europe.

“Nevertheless, we continue to experience the positive impact of restructuring and gross margin improvement initiatives throughout Blyth's businesses, resulting in year-over-year profit improvement despite sluggish sales,” he said in a statement.

The maker of home fragrance and decorative accessories posted net earnings of $2.6 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Results for the period ended Oct. 31 were ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 18 cents a share.

Following the release of its earnings and reflecting its weaker-than-expected results, Blyth revised lower its fiscal 2011 guidance, now expecting earnings in the range of $2.80 to $3 a share from its earlier view of $3.05 to $3.35.

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