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Alberto-Culver generates strong sales outside US
Jan '08
Alberto-Culver Company announced record sales and earnings results from continuing operations for its first fiscal quarter of 2008.

Commenting on the first quarter, Alberto-Culver President and Chief Executive Officer V. James Marino said, "Our record performance this quarter was due to the continued success of TRESemme in each of our major markets and growth in several of our brands, including Nexxus.

In our beauty care markets outside the U.S, we generated strong sales and earnings growth. Our robust pre-tax earnings growth rate was driven partly by our restructuring savings, which we begin lapping next quarter, gross margin improvements, increased interest income and certain one-time benefits.

In addition, we also shifted some of our planned marketing spending to subsequent quarters. We are very pleased with these results and look forward to continuing our momentum for the remainder of 2008."

The Company reported that its gross profit margin increased to 52.6% compared to 51.5% in the prior year quarter, mainly due to favorable product mix and more efficient inventory management.

Advertising and other marketing investments increased 10.8% during the quarter to $67.5 million from $61.0 million in the prior year quarter. Selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales were reduced 130 basis points to 24.4% compared to 25.7% in the prior year quarter.

Carol Lavin Bernick, Executive Chairman of the Company, stated, "We are very proud of our first quarter results and how our business performed in this competitive marketplace and uncertain economic environment. Our ability to grow, to innovate, to win and to create value are drivers to our success and are things that we remain committed to."

Mrs. Bernick also announced the Company's board of directors increased the regular quarterly cash dividend by 18.2% to 6.5 cents per share. Mrs. Bernick added, "Dividends have been an important part of our history and we are happy to reward our shareholders with a significant increase in our dividend." The dividend will be paid on February 20, 2008 to shareholders of record on February 4, 2008.

On November 16, 2006, the Company closed a transaction that separated its consumer products business from its beauty supply distribution business and resulted in the formation of two separate and independent publicly-traded companies: new Alberto-Culver, a worldwide manufacturer and marketer of leading beauty care and other personal care products, and Sally Beauty Holdings Inc, a leading distributor of professional beauty supplies.

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