TOLEDO, Ohio-With sales slipping and costs rising, Libbey reported a first-quarter net loss of $3.4 million, compared to net income of $2 million in the first quarter of last year.
Net sales were down 1 percent to $181.6 million in the quarter, which ended on March 31. Sales in Libbey’s Americas segment were down 1.3 percent, including an 8.1 percent decline in sales to the retail channel offset by an 8.2 percent gain in sales to the business-to-business channel. Stephanie Streeter, Libbey’s CEO, said U.S. sales felt the impact of the severe weather through much of the country in January and February.
Sales in its Europe-Middle East-Africa segment were up 0.5 percent, while sales in its U.S. sourcing segment edged up 1.1 percent.
Gross margin fell 519 basis points to 17.7 percent in the quarter. Selling, general and administrative expenses climbed 9.4 percent in dollars and 144 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 15.8 percent. Streeter said, “Higher energy costs, both in natural gas and electricity, packaging price increases and currency fluctuation, largely in the Americas, provided headwinds in the quarter.”
Looking ahead, she said the company has improved its cost position and is focused on maintaining margin increases and profitable growth. “We look forward to a stronger sales environment in the remaining three quarters of 2014, and the opportunity to better leverage our global capabilities,” she said.