Mohawk cited this improvement as the result of strong sales growth in the Dal-Tile segment, increased operating income and lower interest costs. Net sales for the quarter increased 6 percent to $1,303,166,000 from $1,224,403,000 in 2002. This increase was primarily the result of internal growth of both Mohawk and Dal-Tile products. The Mohawk segment net sales of $967,405,000 in the third quarter of 2003 were up 4 percent from $927,299,000 due to improving sales across all product categories. The Dal-Tile segment net sales of $335,761,000 in the third quarter of 2003 grew 13 percent from $297,104,000 primarily from internal growth.
Net earnings for the first nine months of 2003 were $208,007,000 (4% above last year), or $3.10 in EPS (1% below last year), compared to $200,288,000 in net earnings, or $3.13 in EPS, for the first nine months of 2002. This improvement in net earnings is attributable to sales growth and operating earnings growth in the third quarter as well as the acquisition of Dal-Tile during the first quarter of 2002, Mohawk said. The reduction in EPS results from weak first quarter sales and higher raw material, energy and employee benefit costs during the period for the Mohawk segment. Net sales for the first nine months increased 10 percent to $3,635,062,000 from $3,318,860,000. This sales increase resulted primarily from the acquisition of Dal-Tile and hard surface internal growth.