USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NYSE: USNA) today announced record financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full-year ended December 29, 2012.
Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 increased by 15.5% to $168.5 million, compared with $145.9 million in the prior-year period. The growth in net sales was driven by increases in both the Company's Asia Pacific and North America/Europe regions. Favorable changes in currency exchange rates contributed approximately $3.0 million to the top line for the quarter.
Net earnings for the fourth quarter increased to $18.4 million, an improvement of 40.2%, compared with the prior-year period. This increase was due primarily to higher net sales and lower relative Associate incentive expense for the quarter, and was partially offset by lower gross margins. Earnings per share for the quarter increased by 46.0% to $1.27, compared with $0.87 in the fourth quarter of the prior year. This improvement in earnings per share can be attributed to higher net earnings and a lower number of diluted shares outstanding, which resulted from the Company's share repurchases over the last 12 months. Total diluted common shares outstanding as of December 29, 2012 were 14,471,000 compared with 15,177,000 as of December 31, 2011.
The Company's Chief Executive Officer, Dave Wentz, said, "USANA's results in the fourth quarter were once again exceptional and cap off a year during which we produced record top and bottom-line results every quarter. Additionally, 2012 marks our tenth consecutive year of record sales. We believe that our strong operating results are due to the successful execution of our 2012 strategies. These strategies included our worldwide personalization initiative, our effort in North America to regain growth through strengthening our Associate sales force and our expansion in Greater China through the consistent training of our Associates in China on the Company's product and the implementation of a compensation plan that is specific to that market."
Net sales in the Asia Pacific region increased by 21.3% to $107.8 million, compared with $88.9 million for the fourth quarter of the prior year. This improvement was due to strong sales growth in Southeast Asia/Pacific and Greater China. This sales growth resulted from a 17.4% increase in the number of active Associates in Asia Pacific, as well as price increases in certain markets that were implemented during the first quarter of the year. Active Associate growth was again driven by double-digit growth in Southeast Asia/Pacific and Greater China and, to a lesser extent, the addition of the Thailand market to the region.
"Our Asia Pacific region continued to drive our business during the fourth quarter. We remain pleased with the strong growth in our leading markets in Greater China and Southeast Asia/Pacific, and we were especially encouraged by the growth in sales on a local currency basis that we generated in every market in Asia Pacific this quarter," continued Mr. Wentz. "We are gaining traction in China and, consequently, our Greater China growth strategy will continue to be a key initiative for the Company in 2013 and beyond."
During the fourth quarter of 2012, net sales in the North America/Europe region increased by 6.4% to $60.7 million, compared with $57.1 million in the prior-year period. The number of Active Associates in North America/Europe was essentially flat compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.
Mr. Wentz added, "We made solid progress in North America during 2012 and have seen a noticeable improvement in our operating trends in this region. We generated strong results in Mexico during the year, where net sales improved 25.7% and Active Associates increased 20.0%. We foresee growth in our U.S. and Canada markets as we continue to focus on initiatives aimed at generating active customer growth."
The Company maintained its successful track record of generating meaningful levels of cash from operations and ended the quarter with $71 million in cash and cash equivalents. Cash generated from operations totaled $29.2 million for the quarter. During the quarter, the Company invested $32.8 million to repurchase 767,000 shares of the Company's stock.
For the year ended December 29, 2012, net sales increased by 11.5% to $648.7 million, compared with $581.9 million in the prior year. Net sales growth was driven by increases in both Asia Pacific and North America/Europe regions. Changes in currency exchange rates did not have a meaningful impact on sales for the year as a whole.
Net earnings for the year ended December 29, 2012 increased by 30.9% to $66.4 million, or $4.45 per share, compared with $3.26 per share in the prior year. The increase in net earnings was due primarily to higher net sales, lower relative Associate incentive expense, and a lower effective tax rate of 32.5% for the full year.