Global battery sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 were $253.6 million compared to $264.4 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Tighter retailer inventory levels and reorder rates, along with significant competitor discounting, continued to impact the North American battery market. Rayovac® growth was achieved in a key, non-Nielsen measured channel. European VARTA® battery business growth was driven by favorable foreign exchange. The Latin American battery business was adversely impacted by tighter Brazilian retailer inventory management, partially offset by successful new lighting product launches.
Net sales for the global personal care product category of $126.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 increased 6.1 percent versus $119.7 million last year. Significantly increased revenues in Europe and Latin America drove the improvement. North American revenues were unchanged despite the ongoing, negative impact of a one-time shaving and grooming category shelf space reduction at a major retailer. Excluding a negative foreign exchange impact of $0.7 million, net sales for the global personal care product category grew 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
The small appliances product category reported net sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 of $196.8 million versus $195.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. A double-digit increase in net sales in Europe offset essentially flat revenues in North America, which were adversely impacted by the planned and continued elimination of low-margin promotions totaling nearly $5 million. The elimination of low-margin promotions contributed significantly to a 500 basis point improvement in North American small appliance gross margins quarter-over-quarter, which followed 330, 450 and 350 basis point improvements in gross margin percentage from this strategic initiative in the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2013, respectively. Excluding a negative foreign exchange impact of $3.6 million, net sales for the small appliances product category increased 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
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