ST. LOUIS–A 7.6 percent fall in net sales brought a reversal to the bottom line of Furniture Brands International in its first quarter.
The company posted a net loss of $3.1 million in the quarter, which ended on March 31 and which contrasted to first-quarter net income of $3.5 million in last year’s first quarter. The decline in sales, which totaled $297.9 million, slimmed Furniture Brands’ gross margin by 16 points to 26 percent. While selling, general and administrative expenses were virtually flat in dollar terms, they rose 196 basis points as a percentage of sales to 26.7 percent.
Ralph Scozzafava, chairman and CEO, said Furniture Brands’ sales trend improved each month as the quarter progressed. “We remained focused on controlling costs, while prudently investing in profitably growing our business, and increasing the efficiency of our manufacturing and sourcing operations,” Scozzafava said.