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BlueLinx Sales Up 3.4% in Third Quarter

Atlanta, GA-based BlueLinx Holdings Inc. (NYSE:BXC), a distributor of building products, reported sales for the third quarter ended Oct. 2, 2010, were up 3.4 percent to $464.7 million.

The increase reflects a 5.9 percent increase in structural product sales and a 2.5 percent increase in specialty product sales. Overall unit volume was flat, with a 1.3 percent increase in specialty unit volume being offset by a 4.3 percent decline in structural unit volume.

The distributor had a net loss of $14.9 million, compared with a $13.5 million net loss in the same period a year ago.

Gross margins decreased to 10.7 percent from the 12.3 percent generated in the year earlier period. The decline in gross margin was largely driven by a sharp decline in underlying wood-based product prices during the quarter.

"Our overall performance for the third quarter was impacted by a lack of improvement in actual housing starts and continued deterioration of wood-based product prices," said BlueLinx President and CEO George Judd. "… The price volatility seen in the last six months is some of the worst I have seen in my 25 years in this industry. This volatility in the wood markets had a negative impact on our margins during the quarter as our inventories returned to current market values."

For the nine months ended Oct. 2, 2010, net loss was $33 million. Revenues for the first nine months were $1.44 billion, up from $1.28 billion a year ago.

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