Stockholm, Sweden —Electrolux enjoyed a 9.9 percent shipment increase in the United States during the first quarter, with "particularly good growth" for refrigerators, washers, dryers and cooking products.
Sales of room air conditioners were down substantially, even though combined shipments of air conditioners and microwaves increased 8 percent.
Nevertheless, Electrolux net sales of consumer durable products to North America in the first quarter dropped to $952.7 million from $1 billion year-on-year, while operating income dipped to $35.8 million from $50.6 million.
Consumer durable product sales also includes floor-care products, which increased in U.S. dollar volume but notched substantial declines in operating income and margin as a result of downward pressure on prices, an unfavorable product mix and higher costs for marketing and brand building in the first quarter, compared with a strong first three months last year.
The company said first quarter operating income for consumer durables in North America declined somewhat in Swedish kronas but improved in U.S. dollars. Margin was unchanged from the previous year as the positive impact from an improved product mix and higher productivity was offset by investments in product development and brand building, said Electrolux.
Good majap performance in the United States, factored into consolidated Electrolux sales, did not put the company into positive territory. Net sales for the Electrolux Group in the first three months, ended March 31, edged downward 4.9 percent, reaching $3.9 billion from $4.1 billion.
Consolidated operating income declined by 59.6 percent to $93.9 million from $232.6 million. Excluding items affecting comparability, first quarter operating income was off 5.2 percent to $220.6 million.
Consolidated net income declined by 57.3 percent in the first quarter to $68.6 million from $161.2 million year-on-year. Charges in the first quarter hit $126.6 million, mainly due to a plant closing. If items affecting comparability are excluded, first quarter net would be $147.7 million, down 8.3 percent. First quarter margin remained flat at 5.6 percent.
Looking ahead to the full year, Electrolux expects market demand to show some growth in North America, as well as Europe.