ATLANTA ( TheStreet) -- Newell Rubbermaid ( NWL - Get Report) beat second-quarter profit and sales expectations but lowered its 2011 forecast again as U.S. and European consumers remain cash-strapped.

Newell said early Friday it grew its profit by 12.5% to $146.7 million, or 49 cents a share, in the recent second quarter. Excluding one-time items, adjusted EPS came in at 46 cents, topping estimates for a earnings of 42 cents.

Sales rose 5.1% to $1.57 billion, also ahead of analysts' consensus which had been for revenue of $1.55 billion.

Even so, CEO Michael Polk, a former executive at Unilever ( UN) who was recently tapped to take over at Newell, cautioned that results were "tempered by difficult U.S. and European economies and the ongoing challenges in the baby and parenting category."

Newell makes the popular Rubbermaid brand of food storage containers, as well as Calphalon kitchen products and Graco brands of baby gear.

Looking ahead, Newell said it now expects to book adjusted full-year EPS in a range of $1.55 to $1.62, down from its earlier prior forecast of $1.60 to $1.67. Analysts expected earnings of $1.58 a share. Core sales growth in the second half of the year is expected to be between 3% and 5%.

Shares of Newell Rubbermaid were unchanged in premarket trading Friday after closing 2.1% lower in Thursday's session.

Polk, 50, has been a Newell Rubbermaid director since 2009, and was most recently president of global foods, home and personal care at Unilever. He succeeded Mark Ketchum, who announced his retirement plans earlier this year. Ketchum intends to remain a director until the company's next board elections in May 2012.

Jefferies analyst Douglas Lane cautioned recently that Polk will have his work cut out for him in managing expectations after Newell already trimmed its full-year outlook. The guidance revision then came also in part because of soft demand in some of Newell's consumer product categories such as baby and parenting.

Oppenheimer's Joseph Altobello was more bullish on the appointment, citing Polk's familiarity with Newell Rubbermaid's portfolio of consumer products because of his tenure as a board member, along with his prior experience at other consumer companies such as Kraft Foods ( KFT), Procter & Gamble ( PG - Get Report) and Unilever.

>>For upcoming earnings and estimates, see our Earnings Calendar.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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