Builders FirstSource points to improvement

Builders FirstSource, the Dallas-based pro dealer, posted its best operating performance since the third quarter of 2007.

The company's third quarter had sales of $217.2 million, up 20.4% from the same quarter last year. The company's net loss narrowed to $11.6 million, down from $20.5 million in the third quarter of 2010. 

The company reported gross margin percentage was 20.5%, up from 19.7%, a 0.8 percentage point increase from the third quarter of 2010. Specifically, margins improved 1.1% points due to increased sales volume combined with a decrease of fixed costs in costs of goods sold, which was offset slightly by a 0.4 percentage-point decrease in sales price.

"Though our financial results have continued to show improvement, the housing market remains very challenging, as does the overall state of the economy," said CEO Floyd Sherman. 

According to Sherman, demographic trends and growing population must at some point boost demand for housing. "We are still optimistic about the long-term outlook of our industry, due largely to the increasing disparity between the current low level of housing starts and the on-g