Categories Analysis, Consumer

Helen of Troy (HELE) bets on restructuring to drive long-term growth

After reporting stronger-than-expected first-quarter results, the company reaffirmed its full-year 2024 guidance

Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ: HELE), a leading provider of branded housewares and health & wellness products, embarked on a restructuring program named Project Pegasus last year, and the initiative has started bearing fruit as the company entered the new fiscal year. By next year, the reorganization is expected to generate good savings for the business which is experiencing a slowdown in certain categories due to lower demand and consumers’ changing shopping patterns.

Helen of Troy’s stock has been in a free fall since peaking in late 2021, but it made strong gains this week after the company reported earnings. Key financial metrics for the first quarter exceeded Wall Street’s projections but declined year-over-year. Currently, the shares are close to where they stood twelve months ago, after experiencing wide fluctuations during that period. In the past thirty days, HELE gained more than 30%, and it is expected to grow in double digits through mid-2024.

Results Beat

The company has a good track record of beating analysts’ estimates, and the trend was maintained in the May quarter when adjusted profit topped expectations though it declined 20% from last year to $1.94 per share. The bottom line was negatively impacted by a 6.6% decrease in net sales to $474.7 million. Sales, however, came in above analysts’ forecast.

Both business segments, Home & Outdoor and Beauty & Wellness, contracted during the three-month period. On an unadjusted basis, net income was $22.6 million or $0.94 per share in Q1, compared to $24.6 million or $1.02 per share in the first quarter of 2023. Operating margin grew by 190 basis points to 8.6%.

Commenting on the results, the company’s CEO Julien Mininberg said at the earnings call, “On the structural side, the specific changes we announced in January are working. The new North American Regional Market Organization is expected to take our sales and shopper capabilities to new levels. In our business segments, our brand and category teams are now even more obsessed with delighting consumers. Similarly, in shared services, our global operations teams are implementing new standardized tools and fully owning our supply chain end-to-end. On the savings side, the set of workstreams we are executing under Pegasus, are nicely on track.”


Meanwhile, the management reaffirmed its full-year 2024 sales guidance in the range of $1.965 billion to $2.015 billion, and adjusted earnings per share forecast between $8.50 and $9.00. It sees full-year unadjusted profit to be in the $3.81-$4.67 per share range. The company continues to expect adjusted EBITDA growth of 3.2-6.3%, and free cash flow between $250 million and $270 million.

The stock closed Wednesday’s session higher, after registering one of the biggest single-day gains following the earnings announcement.

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