Stockholm, Sweden — A combination of price hikes and cost reductions helped Electrolux increase operating income 11.6 percent to $189.4 million during its third quarter.
Net sales rose 1.6 percent to $4.2 billion during the three months ended Sept. 30.
In North America, operating income fell 20.5 percent to $49.2 million and net sales slipped 2.4 percent to $1.3 billion.
North American profits were impacted by the United States housing market crash and about $8 million in launch costs for the company’s new Electrolux premium appliance platform. Startup costs were actually lower than anticipated, as sales of the new line exceeded expectations, the manufacturer said.
“The financial crisis has without a doubt affected the consumption levels of appliances,” observed president/CEO Hans Stråberg. “Many consumers are postponing their purchases or choosing less expensive products. And there's no evidence that the weak market developments will turn around in the near future.”
Stråberg said demand in North America is approaching 2001 levels, and described the division’s nine consecutive down quarters as “a dramatic decline.”
On a positive note, the company’s mass market Frigidaire brand grew share during the third quarter, and the vendor implemented its third round of price hikes in a year to offset the rising costs of raw materials.
Stråberg added that the U.S. launch of the new Electrolux line “continues to exceed our expectations,” with sell-through at some 3,000 retail doors.