Even during a recession, people wash their hair. Alberto-Culver (ACV), the maker of Alberto VO5 and Nexxus hair-care products, has seen its stock hang in there despite a consumer slowdown that's plunged the Standard & Poor's 500 index into a bear market.

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Even during a recession, people wash their hair. Alberto-Culver (ACV), the maker of Alberto VO5 and Nexxus hair-care products, has seen its stock hang in there despite a consumer slowdown that’s plunged the Standard & Poor’s 500 index into a bear market.

Most recently, Alberto-Culver reported fiscal third-quarter profit ahead of analysts’ expectations on growing revenue: $364.9 million in sales, up from $325 million in the prior year’s quarter.

“Our brands continue to grow and win on the shelf,” Chief Executive Jim Marino told analysts after reporting the results in late July.

The company hasn’t seen customers “trade down” to cheaper products from more expensive ones, he said. But if they do, Alberto-Culver should be well positioned, as its brands range from higher-end Nexxus to midrange TRESemme to lower-end VO5.

The company has been able to grow its revenue in the face of a weakening consumer market by increasing its market share through new geographic markets, analysts say. Alberto-Culver has also been improving its margins by closing manufacturing plants and better managing inventory.

Alberto-Culver, which began in 1955 after a Chicago entrepreneur bought the V05 line, recently sold its Cederroth International business, which makes bandages, antacids and other products in Scandinavia, to focus on beauty products.

It used the proceeds of that sale to buy the Noxzema skin-care brand from Procter & Gamble. The deal should help Alberto-Culver bolster its international sales, predicts Citi Investment Research analyst Wendy Nicholson, who rated the stock “buy.”

Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz Jr. also says the deal should help, but he thinks the shares look fairly valued and rated the stock “hold.”