Armstrong Holdings Inc. has reported first quarter net sales of $876.6 million, 4 percent higher than last year's first quarter net sales of $840.7 million. Excluding the effects of high foreign exchange rates totaling $19.7 million, consolidated net sales increased by 7 percent.
First quarter operating income was $48.2 million compared to $7.7 million for the first quarter of last year. The brisk growth was the result of increased sales and improved productivity, both in manufacturing efficiencies and in reduced selling, and general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses. In addition, a higher pension credit, lower charges for cost reduction initiatives, and a favorable settlement of a patent infringement case contributed to the year-over-year improvement. Inflationary cost increases partially offset these benefits, Armstrong noted.
Wood Flooring net sales grew 8 percent in the first quarter to $205.2 million, compared to $190.1 million in the first quarter of last year. Armstrong said that double-digit volume growth in both engineered and solid wood floors contributed to the increase in net sales, partially offset by price declines. Operating income of $11.5 million in the first quarter compared to $8.8 million in the first quarter of last year. The growth in operating income was primarily attributable to the increased sales volume and production efficiencies, which more than offset price declines.
Armstrong said that Resilient Flooring net sales rose 2 percent despite a slight dip in the final numbers: $283.8 million in the first quarter compared to $284.9 million in the first quarter of last year. However, Armstrong noted that excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates, net sales actually increased. This increase was primarily due to growth in sales of commercial vinyl and laminate products in the Americas and favorable price and product mix in Europe. An operating loss of $3.4 million in the quarter compared to a loss in the first quarter of 2005 of $9.6 million. The improvement is primarily attributable to benefits from previously implemented cost reduction efforts that more than offset raw material cost inflation.
Textiles and Sports Flooring net sales in the first quarter increased to $64.8 million from $62.9 million. Excluding the effects of unfavorable foreign exchange rates of $6.2 million, sales grew 14 percent on higher volume in both carpet and sports flooring, combined with improved product mix. Operating income of $0.5 million in 2006 compared to an operating loss in 2005 of $5.9 million. The improvement was primarily due to the increased sales. Lower SG&A expenses also contributed to the positive change, Armstrong reported.