Nature’s Sunshine Products U.S., which remains the Company’s largest individual segment, increased net sales revenue by 3.6 percent for the quarter, to $37.8 million, compared with $36.5 million in the same quarter a year ago. Operating expenses remained essentially flat at $37.5 million, compared with $37.4 million for the same quarter a year ago. Operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2010 totaled $0.3 million, an improvement of $1.2 million, as compared to an operating loss of $0.9 million for the same period in 2009. The increase in net sales is due to 4.3 percent growth in our active Managers during the quarter, increased attendance at our leadership conference in February 2010, as well as the launch of two new products and the introduction of a new Distributor training program during the 2010 first quarter.
At Nature’s Sunshine Products International, net sales revenues for the three month period ended March 31, 2010 totaled $35.3 million, an increase of approximately 5.1 percent, compared to $33.6 million for the same period in the prior year. Net sales results benefited from growth in several key markets, and the effect of a weakening U.S. dollar overall and specifically on consumer demand in many of the markets in which we operate. The improvements, however, were offset by the impact of the aforementioned accounting treatment for Venezuela. With operating expenses up 9.1 percent, operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2010, was $0.4 million, compared to $1.6 million for the same period in the prior year. The increase in operating expenses is a result of increases for VAT accruals in certain markets, the effect of the devaluation of the bolivar and the change to a highly inflationary economy in Venezuela, as well as the effect of increased inter-company transfer prices for some of our products in certain markets.