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Sales exceeded earlier guidance, despite continued economic challenges, primarily due to the timing of certain promotional sales and favorable currency translation, CEO Nolan D. Archibald said.
The U.S. Industrial Products Group remained under pressure from lower construction activity and posted a sales decline of more than 20%. Sales in the Power Tools and Accessories segment decreased 21% for the quarter versus the prior year.
Sales decreased 20% in the U.S. Consumer Products Group, due to weak demand for discretionary items and our discontinuation of certain low margin products.
In Europe, sales decreased by more than 20%, reflecting double-digit rates of decline in most regions and a particularly challenging environment in Eastern Europe. Sales declined in most other parts of the world, with a 30% decline in Canada and a mid-single-digit rate of decrease in Latin America.
Sales in the Hardware and Home Improvement segment decreased 17% for the quarter, with similar declines in the U.S. lockset and faucet businesses. Fastening and Assembly System segment sales decreased 24% for the quarter.
Both the automotive and industrial divisions experienced double-digit rates of sales decline in all geographic regions. Results improved sequentially, particularly in the North American automotive division, as the auto industryâ??s production rates rose from the depressed levels in the first half. The segmentâ??s operating margin was 9.3%, well below the prior-year level due to lower volume, but an improvement versus the second-quarter performance.
"Looking ahead, we are anticipating continued stabilization of demand, but not a near-term rebound," Archibald said. "We expect fourth-quarter sales similar to the third-quarter level, which would represent a double-digit rate of year-on-year decline."