USG reports third-quarter net loss of $40 million
USG, the Chicago-based building products company, announced a net loss of $40 million for the third quarter, compared with net earnings of $7 million in the year-ago period.
Net sales were $1.2 billion for the quarter, down 8 percent from 1.3 billion in the same period last year.
The company’s consolidated third-quarter results included restructuring charges of $5 million, related to manufacturing plant shutdowns and the closure of distribution locations.
“Our focus on costs and efficiencies, including capacity closures and overhead reductions, has helped to mitigate the effects of the downturn in all our markets,” said William C. Foote, USG chairman and CEO. “As conditions continue to deteriorate in the broader economy, we are preparing plans to significantly reduce costs further, improve operational efficiency and maintain our liquidity.”
USG’s North American gypsum business recorded third-quarter net sales of $610 million, down 13 percent from last year. L&W Supply and its subsidiaries, which comprise USG’s building products distribution business, saw net sales of $526 million, down 14 percent compared to the third quarter of 2007.
Ace tops customer service survey
Ace Hardware received the highest marks in customer service for the third quarter of 2008, according to RealPeopleRatings.com, a quarterly survey by Corporate Research International (CRI).
True Value ranked second in the survey; Lowe’s ranked third.
CRI, a market research firm specializing in mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, sends the quarterly surveys as online opinion polls to its pool of panelists; 3,000 panelists participated in this quarter’s survey.
According to CRI, this survey emphasizes the importance of brand image and customer perception. Respondents were asked to rate their perception of each business’s customer service on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating. If a respondent did not have experience with the business, the panelist did not enter a score for that establishment.
“It’s increasingly important in today’s marketplace for companies to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction to keep their customers coming back,” said Michael Mallett, CEO of Corporate Research International.
Black & Decker earnings decline for Q3
Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker reported net earnings of $85.8 million for the third quarter, down 18 percent from $104.6 million for the third quarter of 2007. Earnings reflect a $15.6 million pre-tax restructuring charge.
Sales for the quarter were $1.57 billion, down 4 percent from 1.63 billion in the year-ago period.
“Black & Decker generated solid earnings and cash flow in a very difficult business environment this quarter,” said Nolan D. Archibald, chairman and CEO. “Sales met our expectations despite weakening economic conditions in the U.S. and Western Europe. The actions we took earlier in the year to reduce costs helped our results this quarter, and we are taking additional steps in light of recent macroeconomic developments.”
In the company’s power tools and accessories, hardware and home improvement, and fastening and assembly systems segments, sales decreased 6 percent, 13 percent and 2 percent, respectively.