Stockholm, Sweden - Electrolux credited its focus on strong brands, innovative products and cost-efficient production for delivering its best first-quarter results ever in appliances.
Net income for the three months, ended March 31, was $126.4 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $48 million, and net sales rose 4.1 percent to $3.5 billion, excluding the negative impact of currency fluctuations.
In North America, net sales inched up less than 1 percent to $1.1 billion, excluding the negative impact of currency fluctuations, and operating income skyrocketed more than 300 percent to just less than $50 million.
In a statement, president/CEO Hans Straberg attributed the operating income gains in North America to a better product mix, which was achieved by increasing sales and market share of the company's Electrolux and Frigidaire brands while phasing out unprofitable low-volume private-label lines, ostensibly for Sears.
Also boosting operating income in North America was improved pricing and higher production efficiency, the company said, although raw-materials costs increased from the prior and year-ago quarters.
Straberg added that demand in the U.S. market "recovered somewhat more quickly than we anticipated" with strong growth in March, but said the company is capable of quickly ramping up production while launching new lines.