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Zep 1Q Sales Down 1.9%

Declining sales volumes to industrial and institutional customers offset gains in the retail channel.

Zep Inc. (NYSE:ZEP), Atlanta, GA, a manufacturer, marketer, and service provider of a wide range of cleaning and maintenance solutions, reported sales for the first quarter ended Nov. 30, 2009, of $126.8 million, down 1.9% from the prior year period. Profit was $5.4 million, compared to a loss of $1.5 million a year ago.

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"During the past year we meaningfully lowered the breakeven point of the business through the execution of sustainable restructuring and cost reduction initiatives," said John K. Morgan, president and CEO. "While company-wide sales volumes have yet to return to pre-recession levels, demand in some of our end markets has stabilized compared with the prior year, and we are seeing sequential improvement in certain markets."

During the first quarter, Zep realized higher year-to-date selling prices of $1.0 million, primarily from domestic operations. Total volume-related declines adversely impacted first quarter net sales by $6.9 million as declining sales volumes to industrial and institutional customers more than offset these gains in sales through the retail channel.

Zep consolidated two facilities during the first quarter, and anticipates consolidation of at least three more locations in fiscal year 2010.

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