The Power Equipment business, which includes Power Tools, Hand Tools, Outdoor Products and Accessories, delivered USD 1.4 billion in sales, 10.1% higher than the same period last year before adjustments for currency. The business accounted for 75.9% of overall Group sales.
MILWAUKEE® recorded double-digit sales growth across all geographic regions in the first half of 2012. Growth was driven by the introduction of new products using MILWAUKEE®‘s advanced technology, like the powerful M18® FUEL™ range of lithium ion cordless tools, further expansion of innovative hand tools and continued penetration of the distribution network, driving gains in market share. MILWAUKEE® Power Tool Accessories likewise continued to deliver market gains, posting robust double-digit sales growth. This was partly driven by the expansion of the SHOCKWAVE™ range of drilling and fastening accessories and aggressive conversion programs in key markets, which have helped expand our presence in the home center, construction, industrial and hardware channels.
Consumer, Trade and Professional
For the first half of 2012, the North American Consumer Power Tools Division posted mid single-digit gains within the home improvement marketplace while improving our market position. Driving the expansion was the ongoing launch of innovative new products backed by marketing activities to communicate benefits to end-users, the underlying strength of lithium cordless tool demand, the successful RIDGID® JobMax® lithium ion cordless multi-tools for professionals, and the continuing success of the RYOBI® 18-volt ONE+ System® of cordless tools.
Outdoor Products & Accessories
Outdoor Products performed well despite second quarter weather-related challenges in our largest markets. This growth was supported by the robust sales of new RYOBI® lithium cordless outdoor products, expansion of the RYOBI® and HOMELITE® gas products, and growth in accessories.
RYOBI® lithium cordless products are rapidly gaining popularity among a growing segment of end-users who are adopting lithium cordless technology. As a result, lithium cordless outdoor products represent the fastest-growing segment in the outdoor category. The new RYOBI® outdoor lithium 40-volt products have been launched globally. This more powerful, higher-voltage lithium platform further strengthens the RYOBI® cordless offering, which includes 24-volt and the well-known, consumer market-leading RYOBI® 18-volt ONE+ System®.
The Floor Care and Appliance business, reported USD 0.5 billion in sales, 7.9% lower than the same period last year before adjustments for currency. The business accounted for 24.1% of overall Group sales.
Sales of our branded floor care business declined 1.4% before currency adjustment, with Europe and rest-of-world growing double-digit while our OEM business contracted. The business in North America faced a challenging environment. Sales increased in Europe as we continued to expand distribution and sales in core categories. Australia and New Zealand achieved significantly higher sales as VAX® products gained market share.