Lawson Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: LAWS), Chicago, IL, reported first-quarter sales of $72 million, down 5.2 percent versus the first quarter of 2012. The MRO distributor recorded a net loss of $3.2 million for the period, compared with a year-ago loss of $1.8 million.
The decrease in sales was primarily driven by reduced sales coverage due to an 11 percent decline in the average number of sales representatives compared to a year ago.
“We continued to sharpen our focus on growing sales during the first quarter. An important element of that refocusing was the transition of our U.S. sales force from independent agents to employees, which became effective on Jan. 1, 2013," said Michael DeCata, president and CEO. "We are encouraged by the improvement in sales productivity that has begun to appear in our results. We believe this transition, along with other initiatives, including our enhanced website and the opening of our new McCook distribution center, will support additional sales growth.”
Lawson began the year with 757 sales representatives. During 2013, Lawson intends to expand the number of sales areas covered and improve the penetration of sales in existing territories.