“Disappointing Quarter” at Blyth

Greenwich, CT-based Blyth, which mails the Walter Drake and Miles Kimball gifts and housewares catalogs, blamed a weak retail environment for its 13% drop in third-quarter profit. Earnings for the three months ended Oct. 31 were $30.2 million, compared with $34.8 million last year. Net sales increased 2%, to $439.4 million.

“We are disappointed in our third-quarter results and believe that reduced consumer discretionary spending as a result of high gasoline prices led to lower-than-expected sales across each of our operating segments,” chairman/CEO Robert B. Goergen said in a statement.

Catalog and Internet sales jumped 50%, to $54.1 million, thanks to the December 2003 acquisition of Walter Drake. However, the catalog segment’s operating profit was below management’s expectation. For the quarter, operating profit increased 26%, to $3.4 million from $2.7 million last year. The company, which also manufactures and distributes candles and home décor items, blames soft sales, continuing expenses to integrate Walter Drake into Miles Kimball, and lower list rental income for the disappointing operating profit.

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