By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Electrolux reported that U.S. sales of refrigerators, freezers, ovens, dishwashers, washers and dryers — its core appliances group — dropped about 7 percent in the first quarter.
First-quarter sales of core appliances, with the addition of room air conditioners, dehumidifiers and microwave ovens — called the company's major appliances group — decreased about 8 percent in the first three months.
Overall, Electrolux said that sales at Electrolux Home Products, North America were lower than the year-ago first quarter. Operating income for the company's U.S. segment declined considerably, Electrolux said.
Net sales of consumer durables in North America were flat, coming in at about $1.2 billion for the three months ended March 31, a bit less than the year-ago first quarter. Sales of consumer durables in North America remain the company's largest business segment, topping the $1.1 billion in sales to Europe.
Operating income for consumer durables in North America during the first quarter was $79.1 million, down from the $91 million registered in the same period in 2000.
The market for floor-care products declined somewhat in the United States, with sales at the U.S. operation lower in the first quarter than last year.
Electrolux, which attributed lower demand for majaps in the United States as part of the reason for its overall weaker numbers in the first quarter, said total company net sales dropped 8 percent to $3.3 billion, down from $3.1 billion in the year-ago period.
Operating income in the first three months reached $181.7 million, off 10 percent from the $201.1 million reported in the same quarter last year. Net income declined by 10 percent to $104.6 million in the quarter, down from $116.5 million in the year-ago three months.
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