Black & Decker posts earnings drop

Towson, Md.-based Black & Decker has announced an 18 percent drop in net earnings in the second quarter, to $96.7 million from $118 million in the same period last year.

Sales fell 3.5 percent to $1.64 billion from $1.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Nolan Archibald, chairman and CEO of the tool giant said the results still met the company’s expectations for operating performance, despite a significant increase in commodity costs.

“Weak demand in the U.S. and slowing conditions in parts of Western Europe, however, resulted in lower sales and earnings than in 2007,” he added.

Sales in the company’s power tools and accessories segment decreased 10 percent for the quarter, while the manufacturer’s consumer products group saw sales decrease 25 percent. Sales in the hardware and home improvement segment decreased 5 percent.

Archibald said Latin American sales “continued to grow more than 20 percent,” while sales in Canada and Asia also posted gains.

The company’s U.S. faucet business had a low single-digit rate of sales decline. Sales at Black & Decker’s fastening and assembly systems segment were flat for the quarter.

"Two years into a severe downturn,