Dalton, Ga. -- The Dixie Group reported net sales for the third quarter, which ended Sept. 29, were down 1.1%. The company had a loss from continuing operations of $2.9 million.

“The first phase of our profit improvement plan was focused on consolidating our Atlas and Masland Contract businesses,” said Daniel K. Frierson, chairman and CEO. “Most of the management was consolidated late last year and early this year. The sales forces were combined in the third quarter and the manufacturing consolidation will be essentially complete over the next four months.”

The company closed its tufting plant in Chickamauga, Ga., in the third quarter and is phasing out tufting in the Commerce, Calif., plant and will move that production to its plant in Atmore, Ala. As the company’s productivity, service, and quality have improved, it was able to reduce staffing in many of its facilities.

“We began the reduction in June with our Atmore operations moving from a 7-day to a 5-day schedule,” Frierson said. “With the reductions already implemented and the ones recently announced, we will have reduced our employment by over 15% when completed early in 2019. These reductions represent a company-wide effort to reduce costs and complexity, with approximately two-thirds of the reduction coming from our commercial business and one third from our residential business. Our improved productivity enabled us to improve service and reduce inventories in excess of $2.5 million in the third quarter.”

Residential product sales were up 5.6% for the quarter due to market share growth, while the residential replacement segment was down slightly as compared to the prior year.

“Through the quarter, we saw very strong sales in our new Stainmaster carpet introductions, including both PetProtect and Luxerell segments,” Frierson said. “Also in the quarter, we began shipping our newly revamped Masland eNergy main street commercial product line.

Late in the quarter, the company began shipment of its new EnVision 6,6 collection, nicely styled products at moderate price points to reach a wide range of consumers. It also began shipment of Fabrica Fine Wood Flooring line, a sophisticated collection of refined “best in class” decors.

Commercial product sales in the third quarter were down 16.1%.

“Our soft surface commercial sales were down while the industry, we believe, was up in the low single digits.” Frierson said. “We have been slower in adapting to the transition in the marketplace from broadloom to modular carpet tile as well as the shift from piece dyed product to solution dyed yarn systems. To respond to these trends and improve our speed to market with newer more relevant products, we announced the unification of our two commercial brands, Atlas and Masland Contract, into one operating division of the Company in the fourth quarter of 2017. The final phase of this Profit Improvement Plan, announced in the third quarter, includes the integration of our west coast commercial manufacturing into our Atmore, Alabama commercial facility.”

For more information, visit www.thedixiegroup.com.