The Black & Decker Corp., Towson, MD, reported sales for 2008 decreased 7.2% over 2007 to $6.1 billion. Profit was $293.6 million, down 43.3%.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, profit was $43.7 million, down 76.7% when compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. Sales decreased 17% to $1.4 billion, including a negative 4% impact from foreign currency translation.
In light of weak demand in the fourth quarter, the company reduced employment levels by about 1,200 positions.
Sales in the Power Tools and Accessories segment decreased 13% for the quarter and 10% for the year. In the U.S., sales decreased at a double-digit rate for the Industrial Products Group, reflecting slowing markets for both residential and commercial construction. In the U.S. Consumer Products Group, sales decreased by more than 20% due to lower consumer spending and a smaller offering of gift items.
European sales decreased approximately 20%, as weakening economic conditions were compounded by inventory reductions by retailers, while Latin American business continued to deliver solid sales growth.
Sales in the Hardware and Home Improvement segment decreased 11%, both for the quarter and full year. In the Fastening and Assembly Systems segment, sales decreased 13% for the quarter, driven by a sharp decline in automotive production across the globe. Sales decreased only 2% for the full year, despite a double-digit decline in North American automotive production, due to strong results in Asia.