Chattanooga-based Dixie carpet sales up 20 percent in first quarter

Chattanooga-based Dixie carpet sales up 20 percent in first quarter

May 1st, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

In this file photo, a worker at the Dixie Group Eton plant moves a roll of carpet to storage via forklift.

The housing recovery and the addition of new carpet lines boosted first quarter earnings for the Dixie Group, Inc., by 20 percent over a year ago and put the Chattanooga-based carpet maker back in the black in the first three months of the year.

Dixie Group said today its first quarter income from continuing operations totaled $651,0000, or 5 cents per share, on sales of $75.4 million. In the same period a year ago, Dixie lost $104,000, or 1 cent per share, from continuing operations on sales of $62.3 million.

Including discontinued operations, the company reported net income of $636,000, or 5 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013, compared with a net loss of $181,000, or 1 cent per diluted share, for the year-earlier period.

Dixie Group CEO Dan Frierson said the first quarter is typically the slowest period of the year, but the company showed sales gains across all segments of its business this year.

"Our sales growth in the residential business was 21 percent higher than the same period in the prior year with notable growth in our mass merchant area," Frierson said in the quarterly report released today. "Our commercial business increased 13 percent with particularly strong growth in our modular carpet tile area."

Dixie outpeformed the industry gains in both the residential and commercial markets, Frierson said.

"The residential growth was a combination of sales momentum in our mass merchant area, increases from the successful integration of the Gulistan products purchased late last year, growth of our Stainmaster TruSoftTM and SolarMaxTM products and growth in our wool business," Frierson said. "In the residential market, we are seeing a strong market shift to softer products, as demonstrated by the growth of our Stainmaster TruSoftTM products, and thus an increased opportunity to gain floor space at retail as the industry moves towards this new consumer preference."

Frierson said he expects the upper-end of the residential carpet industry to show further gains during 2013 and "the commercial market appears to be healthy with the highest growth in the modular carpet tile segment."