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BlueLinx narrows losses in Q4

Lower commodity prices impact the distributor’s sales in 2019.

BY Andy Carlo

Building products distributor BlueLinx reported fourth quarter 2019 sales fell 8.9% to $613 million from fourth quarter 2018 sales of $673 million.

Sales for the full year declined 7.7% to $2.64 billion from sales of $2.86 billion in 2018.

Net sales were primarily impacted by lower commodity prices and the discontinuation of a siding product in late 2018, which affected year-over-year net sales by approximately $13 million, and $46 million, BlueLinx said.

The Marietta, Ga.-based company narrowed its fourth quarter net loss to $10.2 million from a net loss of $16.2 million for the same period a year ago. BlueLinx posted a net loss of $17.7 million for the full year, compared to a net loss of $48.1 million in the prior fiscal year.

The Company recorded gross profit of $83 million during the fourth quarter, compared to $81 million in the prior year period, with a gross margin of 13.5% compared to 12.1% in the prior year period.

In other news, BlueLinx announced that Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Susan O’Farrell, is retiring. O’Farrell is expected to remain with the company until April 12 and will assist with transitioning her role.

BlueLinx said that Kelly Janzen will join the company as its new SVP and CFO, effective April 13. Janzen will be based out of the Company’s headquarters in Marietta. Janzen has a 25-year financial career and most recently served as chief accounting officer of WestRock Company.

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The Bottom Line: Sagging commodity prices impact 2019 sales for BlueLinx, but the company drastically narrowed its losses.

What the CEO said: “We were pleased to report gross margin improvement in 2019, and we continue to make progress on our financial results,” said Mitch Lewis, BlueLinx president and CEO. “Our investments in improving customer service and operational performance are making a difference as evidenced by increasing sales volume that we began to see in the fourth quarter, which is continuing into the first quarter.  With the integration largely behind us, we enter 2020 wholly focused on profitably growing the business.”

Company info: The full fourth quarter 2019 and year-end report from BlueLinx is available here.

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