CARTHAGE, Mo.-First-quarter net income for Leggett & Platt slipped 2.2 percent to $44 million, slimmed by a higher effective tax rate than in the first quarter of last year.
Net sales for the diversified manufacturer finished the quarter, which ended on March 31, at $946.8 million, up 5.7 percent from last year. This included a 7 percent pickup in sales of residential furnishings, a gain of 13 percent in sales of industrial materials (driven largely by Leggett & Platt’s acquisition of Western Pneumatic Tube) and a 6 percent increase in sales of specialized products.
Gross margin edged downward by 15 basis points to 18.8 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 2.2 percent in dollars but declined 35 basis points as a percentage of sales to 10.3 percent.
For 2012 as a whole, Leggett & Platt said it anticipates sales to total between $3.65 billion and $3.85 billion. David Haffner, president and CEO, said he expects increased demand, the company’s restructuring activities in late 2011 and a lower effective tax rate for the remainder of this year to produce “meaningful, full-year margin improvement.”