Scotts sales drop in Q1

Scotts Miracle-Gro reported first-quarter net sales of $211.2 million, an 8% drop over sales of $230.2 million during the prior-year quarter.

Net loss for the industry’s largest lawn and garden supplier was $1.21 million for the first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2011. This compares with a net loss of $1.02 million during the first quarter of 2010.

Sales in the global consumer segment were $149.1 million, compared with $188.8 million a year ago. The decline was expected, the company said, based on a planned shift of sales out of the first fiscal quarter as the company has worked with its retail partners to move shipments of its products closer to the start of the lawn and garden season. Consumer purchases of the lawn and garden products at its largest retailers (POS) have been strong in warm weather markets at the start of the new season. Since Jan. 1, these sales are up more than 20% overall, with strong increases in Texas and Florida, two important early season markets.

"We are encouraged to start the new season with year-over-year improvement in our early breaking markets," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. "Our major marketing campaigns will launch later this month and, given our plans to increase our investment in advertising by $40 million, we remain confident that we will deliver company-wide sales growth of at least 6% this year."