Whirlpool earnings down 27 percent

Appliances giant Whirlpool saw earnings fall in the second quarter to $117 million, down 27 percent compared with $161 million in earnings in the year-ago period.

Sales increased 5 percent to $5.1 billion from $4.9 billion last year.

"Whirlpool made solid progress toward improving operating results from first-quarter levels despite an increasingly challenging economic environment," said Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool. "The cost inflation facing our business is significant, and we continue to take steps to address this challenge."

Predictably, petroleum costs and lower consumer demand factored into the lower earnings for the manufacturer. Unit shipments declined 8 percent in North America, the company said. Still, those challenges were partially offset by better results in Whirlpool’s Latin America business.

Sales in the company’s European unit also increased, up 17 percent compared with last year. In Asia, sales rose 9 percent.

To further offset the difficult market in North America and higher shipping costs, Fettig said the company is going forward with “cost-based price increases” and some cost reduction initiatives.

“These actions, coupled with other productivity initiatives … are critical to our ability to offset the record commodity and oil-related costs and lower industry demand," he said.

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