“Lifetime finished 2012 on a very positive note. For the quarter, Consolidated Net Sales increased 12.5% on an actual basis and 8.6% on an organic basis. During the quarter, we acquired the business and assets of Fred® & Friends, a line of innovative products featuring fun kitchen tools, tabletop accessories, party goods and giftware products.
“For the year, Consolidated Net Sales increased 9.5% (actual) and 1.4% (organic).
“Despite the increase in Consolidated Net Sales, the acquisition of Fred® and Friends and a planned, temporary build-up of inventory in the UK in anticipation of increased duties on Chinese ceramics, which are expected to be enacted later this year, total inventory at year-end decreased to $104.6 million, from $110.3 million, reflecting our improving inventory management practices.
“Earlier this month, we presented our new line-up of kitchenware products at the annual International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. The reaction to our new products was overwhelmingly positive, which we believe foretells the successful placement of many of these new products later in the year.“While the U.S. and European economies remain troubled, we nevertheless foresee our overall business increasing by 4-6% in 2013. The increased cash dividend we announced today demonstrates our positive outlook and confidence in our products.” Conference Call Lifetime has scheduled a conference call for Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss its fourth quarter 2012 results. The dial-in number for the conference call is (800) 510-9836 or (617) 614-3670, passcode #15045565. A replay of the call will also be available through March 15, 2013 and can be accessed by dialing (888) 286-8010 or (617) 801-6888, conference ID #43636130. A live webcast of the conference call will be broadcast in the Investor Relations section of the Company’s web site, www.lifetimebrands.com. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, an audio replay of the call will also be available on the site. Non-GAAP Financial Measures This earnings release contains non-GAAP financial measures. For purposes of Regulation G, a non-GAAP financial measure is a numerical measure of a company's historical or future financial performance, financial position or cash flows that excludes amounts, or is subject to adjustments that have the effect of excluding amounts, that are included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP in the statements of income, balance sheets, or statements of cash flows of the Company; or includes amounts, or is subject to adjustments that have the effect of including amounts, that are excluded from the most directly comparable measure so calculated and presented. Pursuant to the requirements of Regulation G, the Company has provided reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP measures are provided because management of the Company uses these financial measures in evaluating the Company's on-going financial results and trends. Management uses this non-GAAP information as an indicator of business performance.