NBTY announced an increase in net sales for January 2009, despite a weak performance from its European retail division, which saw sales fall 18%. The direct response/e-commerce division also fell 2% for the month, after posting 32% growth for the fiscal '09 first quarter ended December 31, 2008. Total sales for the month were up 9% to $193 million, including 31% growth in its wholesale/U.S. nutrition division.
Sales appear to be trending downward for NBTY in 2009, though the decline is slower than it would have been without the Julian Graves and Leiner acquisitions. Without Leiner sales of $26 million, U.S. nutrition division sales would have declined 1% for the month. Clearly, the acquisition is helping sustain positive growth domestically, as North American retail sales were up 1% to $17 million. When including the $8 million in sales tied to the Julian Graves acquisition, the European retail division declined 18%. When excluding Julian Graves sales, the division would have declined a staggering 32% compared to January 2008.
As a point of comparison, net sales were up 29% for the quarter ended December 31, 2008. That growth has slowed to just 9% for the month of January, and all divisions would have experienced losses for the month were it not for growth fueled by the 2008 acquisitions. If NBTY’s direct and retail divisions continue to perform poorly, it appears likely that prior acquisitions will not be enough to sustain positive sales growth throughout the year.