ATLANTA -- Worldwide commercial interiors products and services provider Interface Inc. reported net income of $4.4 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, on sales of $306.5 million results for the first quarter ended April 1, 2001.

This compares to first quarter 2000 net income of $5.2 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, before a restructuring charge, on sales of $293.2 million.

Operating income for the first quarter of this year was $17.1 million vs. $18.2 million, before the restructuring charge, in the same period a year ago. (In the first quarter 2000 the Interface recorded a non-recurring, pre-tax restructuring charge of approximately $20 million, or 27 cents per diluted share after tax, related to consolidations and headcount reductions in North America and Europe.)

First quarter 2001 operating results reflected increased sales in the company's modular and architectural products businesses, improved margins in its domestic broadloom operations and profitability gains in its Re:Source Americas service business, Interface said.

These positive factors were offset by reduced profits in the company's interior fabrics operation, which experienced decelerating order rates as a result of the slow-down in the office furniture industry. Most of the company's major OEM customers experienced lower production requirements, which resulted in lower company fabric sales. Unfavorable exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the Euro also lessened the impact of positive contributions from Interface's European operations.

"In spite of the difficult economic environment, our results demonstrated improved operational processes and the success of our cost-reduction actions” said Ray C. Anderson, chairman, president and CEO. “Our domestic broadloom operations realized significantly improved margins due to initial synergies from the consolidation of Prince Street into Bentley, which were partially offset by disruptions early in the quarter from the energy shortages in California.

”With the consolidation virtually complete, we look for substantial benefits in the second half of 2001. At Re:Source Americas we continued to focus on more profitable sales opportunities and maintained the recent trend of higher earnings."