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Newell Cuts Sales Forecast on Office Product Weakness

Newell Rubbermaidcut its fourth-quarter and full-year sales forecasts Monday, citing softer demand for office products and subsequent inventory reductions at key retailers.

Newell said sales in the quarter would be "essentially flat" compared with a year earlier, and forecast full-year sales to rise 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

The Atlanta-based company had previously forecast sales to rise 2 percent in the quarter and 4 percent in the full year.

"While this inventory correction by North American office retailers poses a near-term challenge, we remain confident in our ability to drive long-term sales growth," Chief Executive Mark Ketchum said in a statement.

Sales in the office products segment would be down in the high-single digits, while it had previously forecast sales to be down in the low-single digits, the company said.

Newell, which forecast gross margin would expand 200 to 250 basis points, said it was on track to reach its per-share earnings forecast.

The company had previously forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 44 cents to 46 cents a share.

For the full year, it expects to earn $1.79 to $1.81 on a per-share basis.

Analysts expected per-share earnings of 46 cents in the quarter and $1.82 for the full year.

Newell had also forecast fiscal 2008 earnings of $1.95 to $2 per share. Analysts expect it to earn $2 per share.

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