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Construction, retail markets drive Universal Forest Products’ Q1 earnings

BY Thursday, April 21, 2016 12:03pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Bolstered by a mild winter and strong performance in its construction and retail markets, Universal Forest Products Inc. surpassed analysts’ expectations for earnings in its first quarter.

Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products (Nasdaq: UFPI), a manufacturer of wood and wood-alternative products for the construction industry, generated net sales of $682.2 million in its first quarter, which ended in March 26. That’s a nearly 8-percent increase from first quarter sales the previous year, according to the company’s recent earnings report.

The company reported earnings of 95 cents per diluted share, up 86 percent from 51 cents per diluted share in the same period a year ago.

Executives attribute the better-than-expected performance to an increase in sales to the construction and retail markets, which grew approximately 9 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Sales in Universal Forest Products’ construction market grew to $218.9 million in its first quarter, driven by strong sales in commercial and residential construction. Meanwhile, sales in the the company’s retail market increased to $270.7 million through improving demand in unit sales to big box and independent retail customers, executives said.

While Universal Forest Products’ retail and construction markets improved, the company’s industrial market dipped 3 percent to $204.2 million, mostly related to a decrease in lumber costs.

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