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Planar Sees Continued Sales Slump

Beaverton, Ore. — Planar Systems reported Wednesday that sales from its home-theater business unit, which handles the Runco and Planar video display brands, declined 32 percent in its fiscal first quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2008.

The company said sales of high-end home-theater equipment “continues to be negatively impacted by the slowdown in new home construction and a poor overall economic climate.”

Overall, the display maker said first-quarter revenue was down almost 30 percent from the year-ago period. Planar also handles commercial and industrial displays.

The company recorded revenue of $49.1 million for the period ending Dec. 26, 2008, down from $70 million in the same quarter a year earlier, and down from $66.5 million in the immediately prior, fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

Despite the sales slump, Planar reported a profit of $902,000 in the period, compared with a loss of $3.5 million year earlier, due to a gain of $5.5 million from the sale of its Coolsign business.

I am pleased with the progress we have made strengthening our balance sheet and improving our profitability and working capital in the face of continuing economic challenges,” stated Gerry Perkel, Planar president and CEO. “Our ending cash balance increased almost $3 million compared to the end of the previous quarter and the actions we have taken to reduce costs have begun to favorably impact our profitability. While our revenue levels continue to be under pressure given the global economic slowdown, our balance sheet is stronger than it has been over the past few quarters, and we remain committed to proactive cost reductions, further dispositions of underperforming or non-strategic assets and improved working capital management as we look forward.”

Planar said it expects revenue to decline further in the second quarter, before showing growth in the third quarter. The company expects “modest” losses in the near term.