Contractor segment sales increased 2 percent for both the quarter and year-to-date, with gains for the quarter of 4 percent in the Americas and 21 percent in Asia Pacific. Contractor sales for the quarter were down 12 percent in Europe (5 percent at consistent translation rates) compared to the second quarter last year. Year-to-date sales increased 3 percent in the Americas, decreased 9 percent in Europe (3 percent at consistent translation rates) and increased 17 percent in Asia Pacific. Product display and store set costs incurred in 2011 were not repeated in 2012, leading to reduced selling, marketing and distribution expenses and improved operating earnings in this segment.
Lubrication segment sales increased 13 percent for both the quarter and year-to-date, with 19 percent growth for the quarter in the Americas. Sales for the quarter were flat in Europe (6 percent increase at consistent translation rates) and in Asia Pacific. Year-to-date, sales increased 16 percent in the Americas, decreased 7 percent in Europe (3 percent at consistent translation rates) and increased 12 percent in Asia Pacific. Higher volume and leveraging of expenses led to improved operating earnings in the Lubrication segment.
"We are optimistic that all of our business segments will show organic growth in the second half of 2012 on a constant currency basis, despite headwinds from Western Europe, China and India," said Mr. McHale. "We expect the demand environment in the Americas to remain favorable in all business segments in the second half. In Europe, continued unfavorable currency translation rates may drive year-over-year growth rates into negative territory. Growth in the developing economies of Asia Pacific, along with continued demand for Contractor and Lubrication products in the region, is expected to more than offset continued softness in industrial project activity in China. We remain focused on executing our core strategies to deliver long-term shareholder returns."