Coming soon from LED lighting company Cree (Nasdaq: CREE): a broader portfolio of consumer-focused LED light bulbs available at a wider range of prices.
The new prices are planned for this spring as part of the company’s effort to drive even more LED bulb sales, a product launched last at the retail price of $10.
CEO Chuck Swoboda, speaking on a conference call with analysts Tuesday, would not offer pricing details nor did he disclose specifics on other products the company is researching. But Swoboda said consumers have taken a shine to the company’s LED light bulbs. Swoboda spoke after Cree reported quartely earnings, including record revenue.
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Cree launched its 34 watt LED bulb last March at a $10 price to entice consumers that have been put off by the high price of LED lighting technology. In November, Cree launched a new 75 watt LED bulb, retailing for $23.97.
The bulbs, available at The Home Depot through a retail agreement, cost more than incandescent bulbs but use less electricity and they last longer, saving consumers money in the long run.
“We’re actually proving to people that the old bulbs are a bad deal,” Swoboda said.”Your lighting quality is as good or better and (the LED bulb) pays for itself.”
Swoboda said bulb sales have doubled since the March launch. Cree has not to date broken out its LED bulb sales with specific dollar figures and the company continued that practice with its fiscal second quarter results. But LED light bulb sales contributed to a record $415.1 million in revenue in the quarter, a 20 percent increase compared to a year ago. Those results beat Wall Street estimates as the average estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was $412.46 million.
Cree shares rose 3 percent on the financial results to $64.76 in after hours trading.
Cree breaks down its revenue into its three reportable business segments: LED products, LED Lighting and Power and RF Products.
LED products continues to be the biggest segment but Lighting Products, with $173.6 million in sales, saw the biggest revenue growth in the quarter jumping 42 percent to compared to a year ago.
LED Products increased sales 7 percent to $215.0 million in revenue; Power and RF revenue increased 17 percent to $26.4 million.
Cree’s net income in the quarter, excluding certain items, was $56.8 million or 46 cents per diluted share. The average analyst earnings estimate was 39 cents per share. That’s a 54 percent increase in non-GAAP net income compared to the fiscal second quarter of 2013.
Swoboda said the company could find pricing flexibility for its growing line of LED bulbs by making adjustments to parts of the design of the bulbs without changing the performance of the products. While the retail partnership with The Home Depot is set to expire, Swoboda said he expects Cree will continue to work with the retailer while also finding complementary channels to reach parts of the market that The Home Depot might not reach.
“We’ve had so much success, it just makes sense that we continue to work with them,” Swoboda said.
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