Rock of Ages narrows earnings gap in 2Q

Rock of Ages recorded minor gains in its earnings and shrinking its losses for the quarter ended July 1, but its revenue continued to lose ground due to retail and management restructuring.

Net income losses for the second quarter of 2006 decreased to $307,000, or 4 cents per share, up from a loss of $8.14 million, or $1.10 per share, in the second quarter of 2005.

Total revenue was $24.8 million in the second quarter, down from $28.6 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The Concord-based stone products company posted a slight gain in its quarrying division, while its manufacturing division fell slightly. Its retail division revenues dropped 28 percent, from $14.1 million in the second quarter of 2005 to a $10.1 million the second quarter of 2006 because of the sale of several retail operations that were performing below expectations.

Six-month results trended the same as the quarter, with revenue falling to $36.4 million, compared to $39.7 million in the first half of 2005.

Net losses for the first six months of 2006 improved to a loss of $7.4 million, or 99 cents per share, up from a loss of just over $15 million, or $2.04 per share, in the same period in 2005.

“Revenue for the quarter also was affected by disruptions associated with the change in senior management in our retail group announced in May 2006,” said Kurt Swenson, chairman and CEO.

In May, Rick Wrabel, president and COO; and Caryn Crump, senior vice president of marketing; Kevin Nohelty, vice president of retail operations; and Sean Weeks, regional vice president, resigned from the company. Rock of Ages said their departures would incur a $1.4 million charge in the second quarter of 2006.

“We are encouraged that current retail order backlog is comparable to last year’s, on a same-store basis. Rich Urbach, the new president and chief operating officer of retail operations, and his team are focused on continuing to improve our retail operations and restoring momentum lost during the changeover. We are optimistic that we will begin to see the benefits of these efforts in the current quarter, which would nicely complement the gains we already have achieved in our cost structure and return on sales,” said Swenson. — CINDY KIBBE

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