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Sales, profit up at Hain Celestial despite U.S. weakness

Lake Success-based Hain Celestial Group Inc. is pictured

Lake Success-based Hain Celestial Group Inc. is pictured on Aug. 18, 2015. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Hain Celestial Group Inc., a Lake Success-based organic and natural foods company, Thursday reported strong growth in net sales and net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 despite weakness in its U.S. business.

Net income at the company, which owns brands including Celestial Seasonings, Earth's Best, Terra and Spectrum, was $31.3 million, a 67 percent increase from the year-earlier period. Earnings per diluted share were 30 cents.

Net sales for the first quarter hit $687.2 million, an increase of 9 percent from $631.3 million in the same quarter a year ago.

U.S. net sales for the fiscal 2016 first quarter decreased to $331.2 million from $336.9 million a year earlier. In Britain, net sales were also lower, shrinking to $165.4 million from $172.3 million over last year, and the "rest of the world" segment reported net sales of $66.6 million, up from $51.4 million during the year-earlier period. The company's best performing operation in the quarter was its Hain Pure Protein segment, which sells specialty poultry products under the FreeBird and Plainville Farms brands, and which grew net sales to $124 million, an increase of $53.3 million over the year-earlier period.

"Our United States segment growth did not fully meet our expectations, as strong performance from our snacks, yogurt, tea and personal care brands was overshadowed by temporary disruptions from some of our distributor and retail customers as well as a decline in grocery brands associated with deceleration in the natural channel," Hain Celestial CEO Irwin Simon said in a statement.

"We continued to benefit from the diversification of our business across our branded organic and natural product categories, sales channels and geographies, which fueled solid worldwide results in our typically lowest sales and profitability quarter," Simon said.

Shares of Hain fell 16 cents to $47.75 in after-hours trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market Thursday. The company reported earnings after markets closed.

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