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Pool Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Well, June proved to be a month of adjustment as retail replenishment declined, and we finished June with year-to-date chemical sales up 6%, a more normal growth rate given the market and our typical share increases.

Overall for the quarter, our Blue business sales were up 4.8%, with the 3 largest markets, California, Florida and Texas, each up between 3.8% and 5.4% as Pool maintenance and repair continued to represent a significant majority of our sales.

Year-to-date, our Blue business sales were up 7.4% and really over 8% after adjusting for currency, which is consistent with our expectations.

Our Green base business sales were up 10.7% in the quarter and 7.3% year-to-date, also in line with our expectations.

As noted in the press release, the stronger dollar, especially relative to the euro, adversely affected sales, gross profit, operating profit and earnings per share.

Our sales growth in our Strategic Priority Customer segment retail was up 6.8% year-to-date as the June adjustment negated the weather benefit through May, and represents, primarily, market share gains as there was effectively no inflation impact. Our Strategic Priority Product category, building materials, had 16.7% sales growth year-to-date, primarily driven by market share gains with some recovery in remodeling activity.

Given the sales slowdown witnessed in June and early July, we are cautious about our sales growth projections for the second half. It is this caution that's the primary factor for our reducing the high end of our -- of the EPS range. While certainly the macro economic environment leaves a lot to be desired, the relative year-on-year impact reasserts our expectation that overall industry sales growth will be 3% to 4% for the year, with market share gains driving our outperformance of the industry.

Gross margins being down a bit in the quarter was not a surprise given the inventory gains realized last year from the mid-season price increases. But the competitive market environment, where certain competitors irrationally selling products at prices that only serve to aggravate their precarious financial position, makes no business sense. Fortunately, we have much more to offer than low prices, and are able to grow share by providing a comprehensive suite of services and solutions to help our customers succeed. These programs helped mitigate the competitive market pressures, coupled with our internal disciplines to avoid selling to unprofitable customers.

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