It was a busy first quarter for Newell Brands as the company reported a decline in net sales while also announcing an acceleration in its transformation plan that includes the sale and possible sale of select divisions.
For the three month period ended March 31, net sales were $3 billion, a 7.6% decline when compared to the first quarter the prior year. Company officials said the drop was the result of 2017 divestitures and the loss of business in its baby segment from the Toys ‘R’ Us liquidation.
Net income was $53.3 million, a drop from net income of $639 million in the first quarter of 2017. Reported diluted earnings per share were $0.11 compared with $1.31 in the prior year.
Sales in Newell’s Live segment, which includes housewares, were $1.1 billion, flat year-over-year. Core sales declined 3.1% as growth in appliances and cookware was more than offset by a high single digit decline in baby because of the Toys ‘R’ Us liquidation.
Newell officials said it has added Jostens and Pure Fishing to its list of divisions that are now for sale. Simultaneously, the company is selling The Waddington Group to Novolex Holdings, LLC for approximately $2.3 billion.
“We are acting decisively to make Newell Brands a simpler, stronger and faster company, best positioned to leverage our competitively advantaged capacity in innovation, design and e-commerce,” said Michael Polk, Newell’s CEO. “The new portfolio will comprise seven category-based divisions with roughly 20% of their U.S. sales e-commerce derived, enabling our company to compete much more effectively in the rapidly changing retail environment.”