ATLANTA-Strong sales in its core products along with cost savings from its Project Renewal initiative fueled Newell Rubbermaid to double-digit increases in net income for its fourth quarter and fiscal year, which ended on Dec. 31.
Net income for the quarter rose 15.1 percent to $117.3 million, while for the year net income reached $474.6 million, up 18.3 percent. Net sales finished the quarter at $1.5 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent, which brought the top-line total for the year to $5.7 billion, up 2 percent.
Michael Polk, Newell Rubbermaid’s president and CEO, said the fourth quarter brought the highest quarterly core sales growth in years, at 4.4 percent. Polk said sales increases came from all four of the company’s regions and four of its five operating segments: Baby & Parenting, Commercial Products, Tools and Writing. He added that sales also got a boost from the overhead reductions from Project Renewal, which have enabled Newell Rubbermaid to invest in innovation, new distribution and increased advertising.
Polk characterized 2013 as “a year of great progress for Newell Rubbermaid. We transformed our company’s structure from a holding company of nine individual global business units to an operating company where our five business segments leverage a set of strong functional capabilities organized and led across Newell Rubbermaid as a whole.”
For the quarter, Newell Rubbermaid’s gross margin gained 30 basis points to finish at 37.4 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 5.2 percent in dollars and 50 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 25.8 percent.
Polk said Newell Rubbermaid “will drive our new operating model to speed while continuing to invest in our brands, our capabilities and our people” in 2014. “We remain clear that there is more work to do, and there continues to be much more opportunity in front of us as we transform Newell Rubbermaid into a larger, faster-growing, more profitable and more global company,” he said.