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"These results reflect the strength of 3M's business model as we again delivered higher than expected sales, strong operating margins and outstanding free cash flow," said George W. Buckley, president and CEO. "At the same time, we continued to invest in research and development, improving our supply chains and strengthening our brands and customer relationships, which will position us well as economies improve."
Year to date, sales for the diversified manufacturer were $17.0 billion, down 14% from the same period a year ago. Profit declined 22.8% to $2.26 billion.
Industrial and Transportation segment sales declined 6.4% to $1.9 billion. The segment reported continued year-over-year declines in many industrial markets, including automotive OEM and home appliances, though sales improved from the second quarter.
Sales in the Health Care segment were $1.1 billion, up 4.7% from third quarter 2008. Consumer and Office segment sales fell 4.8% to $923 million, primarily due to soft consumer spending.
Electronics and Communications sales dropped 15.3% in a year-over-year comparison to $617 million, weakness in telecom and commercial construction leading the decline. On a sequential basis, segment sales improved 12%.
Third-quarter sales in the Display & Graphics segment were up 5.5% to $896 million. Sales in optical systems climbed 26%.
Difficult economic conditions continued to erode sales of corrosion protection products, contribution to the 2% decline in sales of Safety, Security and Protection Services segment sales. Segment sales were $864 million for the period.