HP hit hard by slowed consumer spending

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HP hit hard by slowed consumer spending

Hewlett-Packard met its own lowered expectations for its second quarter in what continues to be a tough economic climate for the company.

HP posted revenue of $11.6bn (£8.1bn) for the quarter ending 30 April. This compares to $12bn for the same period last year, a 4% drop. Pro forma earnings per share for the vendor were 18 cents.

HP's pro forma net earnings were $356m for the period, compared with $887m in the second quarter of 2000.

Net earnings for the quarter were $319m, compared with $935m in last year's second quarter. Diluted net earnings per share were 16 cents, compared with 45 cents in last year's second quarter.

"Our results continue to be impacted by significant macro-economic challenges and particular weakness in consumer and capital spending in the US and Europe,'' said Carly Fiorina, HP's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Revenue for the company's consumer business declined 8% in the quarter, as slowed consumer spending hurt the PC and peripherals market.

Revenue for the company's computing systems segment, which includes server, storage, software and PC products, declined 7% year-on-year and fell 5% compared to the immediately preceding quarter.

The high-end Unix operating system-based servers were hit particularly hard, dropping 13% in revenue compared to the same quarter last year.

HP warned in April that it expected a revenue decline of 2% to 4% and earnings between 13 and 17 cents per share for its second quarter. At that time The company said it would eliminate up to 3,000 management positions, as a result of the earnings shortfall, and would require employees to take mandatory days off.

HP also sold its troubled VeriFone e-payment division last week to Los Angeles-based Gores Technology Group (GTG), shedding what was a costly undertaking for the company.

HP incurred a loss of $40m in its fiscal 2000 fourth quarter as a result of its purchase of VeriFone. Company officials admitted at the time that VeriFone's purchase had been problematic but said the bad times appeared to have passed. HP discussed using VeriFone technology to turn handheld computers and mobile phones into devices that can be used for shopping.

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