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April 04, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, April 2016


Nu Skin Reports Annual Sales of $2.25 Billion

TextNu Skin headquarters in Provo, Utah.

In the fourth quarter, a series of new product launches was not enough to counter the effects of a stronger dollar and lackluster sales at Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE).

The maker of anti-aging products and nutritional supplements reported quarterly revenue of $572.2 million, cut 7 percent by currency fluctuations. Though up on a sequential basis, sales fell 6 percent year over year. Earnings were down 20 percent to 62 cents a share.

On a regional basis quarterly results were mixed. Constant-dollar revenue improved 26 percent in the Americas. Besides breakeven results in North Asia, sales in all other regions were down from the prior year. In the company’s largest segment, Greater China, revenue dipped 5 percent on a constant-dollar basis.

For the full year, revenue totaled $2.25 billion, compared to $2.57 billion a year ago. Earnings fell 28 percent to $2.25 per share. The company continued its share buyback program, repurchasing more than 5 percent of outstanding shares in 2015.

In 2016, the company expects revenue in the range of $2.10 billion to $2.15 billion. Management said its operating margin for the year likely will be 10.5 percent to 11.0 percent, with earnings of $2.40 to $2.60 per share, coming in well below analysts’ forecasts of $3.09 per share.


Thirty-One’s New Charitable Partnership Aims to Empower Girls

TextGirls on the Run helps girls to build confidence, character and connection through running. (Photo: Girls on the Run)

Thirty-One Gifts is partnering with Girls on the Run International as official sponsor of the charity’s 20th birthday campaign.

Girls on the Run seeks to empower girls through a 10-week program that revolves around running. Led by volunteer coaches, the program brings together girls in grades 3 to 8, helping them to build confidence, character and connection. At the close of each program, the girls take part in a local Girls on the Run 5K. Last year, the organization’s 5K series included more than 350 events across the country.

“Building confident girls and women is at the heart of what we do,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Through our charitable program, Thirty-One Gives, we have a commitment to changing the alarming statistic that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9, and we believe that, with Girls on the Run, we can change that statistic.”

In 2016, Girls on the Run is celebrating 20 years of service—and more than 1 million girls served—with a birthday campaign sponsored by Thirty-One Gives. The initiative extends to Thirty-One’s independent sales consultants across the country, who will provide volunteer support at this year’s Girls on the Run 5K events.


Avon Discloses Plan to Cut Jobs, Move HQ to Britain

After spinning off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, Avon Products Inc. said next steps will include job cuts and a move to the U.K.

Cerberus invested $435 million for a 16.6 percent ownership stake in Avon, a maker of beauty, household and personal-care products. The private equity firm paid an additional $170 million for 80 percent ownership in Avon North America, which will now operate as a privately held entity under the name New Avon LLC.

Looking ahead, management has started laying out a three-year plan to streamline continuing operations in more than 70 markets. The strategy includes standardizing roles and processes across commercial operations. On the corporate side, Avon said it will cut both filled and open positions to reduce its global staff by 2,500. At the close of 2015 Avon had 28,300 employees outside its North American operations. The company also plans to transition its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K., where Avon has built up extensive operations.

Management expects to save $50 million this year from payroll cuts and the elimination of open positions. Beginning in 2017, the measures are expected to save around $65 million to $70 million a year. Avon also will record a $60 million charge in the current quarter as a result of the layoffs.


Herbalife Stock Buoyed by Report of FTC Talks, Q4 Results

TextHerbalife headquarters in Los Angeles.

Quarterly results were better than projected at Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE), which posted $1.1 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share, beating consensus estimates of $1.06 billion and 94 cents a share. Reported earnings fell to $84.5 million, or 98 cents a share, from $103.3 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago.

Herbalife China continued to drive growth, as quarterly revenue increased 24 percent to $220.4 million. Sales in North America remained flat, while the remainder of Asia Pacific and EMEA dipped 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The nutrition company reported a 21 percent decline in South and Central America and a 14 percent decline in Mexico.

For the full year, revenue totaled $4.5 billion, down 9.9 percent from 2014. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 4.7 percent. Earnings were $3.97 a share on income of $339 million, compared to $309 million, or $3.40 a share, in 2014.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that accompanied Herbalife’s earnings release, management also said it currently is discussing potential resolutions of a Federal Trade Commission probe, which resulted from accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife’s business model is a fraud. Ackman launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock. Federal authorities also are investigating Herbalife’s counter-allegations that Ackman and his fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, manipulated the company’s stock.

Herbalife officials confirmed the company is cooperating with the probe, which commenced nearly 22 months ago. According to Herbalife’s annual report, FTC investigators requested documents and other information from Jan. 1, 2009, to the present to ensure compliance with regulations governing advertising, marketing and the sale of business opportunities. In light of the talks, management did not venture to provide a timeline or likely result but said “the possible range of outcomes include the filing by the FTC of a contested civil complaint and further discussions leading to a settlement, which could include a monetary payment and other relief or the closure of these matters without action.”

Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said during the company’s earnings call, “We cannot comment on the scope, duration or the outcome of the investigation at this time. We will provide updates when appropriate to do so.”


Wellness Brand Immunotec Launches New Skincare Collection

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Immunotec is expanding its product portfolio with Elasense skincare, unveiled at the company’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas. The new collection launched with five products, all containing Immunotec’s exclusive SynerG4 antioxidant complex, made up of the antioxidant glutathione and extracts of green tea, acai berry and cactus. Elasense consists of three Daily Basics and two anti-aging formulations. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec collaborated with a prominent dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Prussick, MD, FRCP(C), to develop the line.

Apart from the new skincare collection, Immunotec sells a range of wellness products targeting health, weight management, energy and physical performance. The company’s flagship product is Immunocal, a patented natural protein clinically demonstrated to help maintain the immune system. Currently, Immunotec products are sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and Ireland.


Family Affair: Beautycounter Adds Safety-Conscious Products for Baby

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Beautycounter Inc. is on a mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone—most recently, parents. The safety-conscious brand is building on its existing range of skincare, makeup and body products with a new collection for baby. Beautycounter Baby is made with the same meticulous research and testing that goes into all of the company’s products, which are free of harmful and unnecessary ingredients. The soothing oil ($22), protective balm ($22), and all-over wash ($20) feature moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil. The California-based company, in partnership with Mother magazine, recently hosted a launch party in Los Angeles to introduce its new collection to bloggers, editors and other influencers.


Yanbal USA Acquires Lulu Avenue Jewelry Business

Moissanite gemstone seller Charles & Colvard Ltd. has sold off the main assets of its direct selling unit, Lulu Avenue, to Yanbal USA Inc. Yanbal USA is part of Yanbal International, a Peru-based direct selling enterprise with nearly 500,000 beauty consultants in 10 markets across Latin America and Europe.

Now Yanbal is setting its sights on the U.S., and the deal with Charles & Colvard brings the company one step closer. The purchase includes a $250,000 credit in existing jewelry inventory, marketing collateral, and intellectual property related to Lulu Avenue’s home party sales model, as well as exclusive licensing on that property through July 31, 2016. Yanbal paid the jewelry company $500,000 for the assets.

Charles & Colvard is a manufacturer and global distributor of created moissanite, as well as finished jewelry featuring the gemstones. The company was the first to duplicate moissanite, a clear jewel with brilliance rivaling a diamond’s—and a lower price tag. Management said the company is divesting its Lulu Avenue business to focus on selling to wholesalers and directly to consumers through its e-commerce website.

“This agreement allows Charles & Colvard to focus its resources and efforts on its core moissanite business,” Suzanne Miglucci, President and CEO of Charles & Colvard, said in a statement. “We believe Yanbal USA will be a great partner for our loyal and committed Lulu Avenue style advisors, and we wish them great success.”


DSA Companies in Focus Event Sold Out in Dallas

TextAt Mary Kay, eventgoers check out the brand’s beauty products.
TextAt AdvoCare, Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten addresses the crowd during lunch.

The spirit of collaboration was alive and well as direct selling professionals gathered in Dallas March 3–4 at the 2016 Companies in Focus event held by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

More than 200, numerous top executives among them, attended the two-day seminar, which provides a firsthand look at some of direct selling’s leading companies. This year the spotlight was on Dallas-area firms AdvoCare International and Mary Kay Inc. Each company opened its doors for a day to share tradecraft and operational expertise with the wider direct selling community. Between visits to AdvoCare and Mary Kay, attendees also heard from the leadership of another area company, Stream, on building a dynamic marketing team and fostering a production-based culture.

Day One of Companies in Focus brought attendees to AdvoCare headquarters, where a drumline and a throng of employees, led by chief executive Brian Connolly, greeted the new arrivals. Throughout the day AdvoCare executives, and even top Independent Distributors, expounded on the company’s philosophy—“We Build Champions”—and how it informs all aspects of the business, from sales training to product development. Guests also were treated to a surprise appearance by Dallas Cowboys tight end and AdvoCare Endorser Jason Witten, who shared leadership insights gleaned from his 12 seasons in the NFL.

The focus then shifted to Mary Kay, a global beauty brand that led its direct selling peers in dollar growth in 2014, generating annual revenue of $4.0 billion. Welcoming attendees to Mary Kay headquarters, CEO David Holl set the tone for the day, and indeed the entire seminar, with the assertion that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As with AdvoCare and its late founder, Charlie Ragus, Mary Kay has built its culture on the principles of Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company in 1963. The day’s presentations, whether on public affairs or salesforce recognition, were sprinkled with aphorisms and business wisdom imparted by Ash, and as a parting gift, each guest received a copy of her business manifesto, The Mary Kay Way.


Direct Selling Expansions in the Second Quarter

New Markets

  • 98alive USA
  • Elken Philippines
  • Laguna Blends Canada
  • Laguna Blends USA
  • LifeVantage United Kingdom
  • Mannatech Colombia
  • Younique France

New Facilities

  • 4Life Hong Kong Office
  • 4Life Peru Office
  • Amway Manufacturing Plant—India
  • Forever Living Products Middle East Headquarters—Dubai, UAE
  • Isagenix Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Jeunesse—Utah, USA
  • Plexus Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Natura Store—Paris, France
  • QNET Myanmar Office
  • Young Living Australia Office