Rock of Ages reports 3Q financials

Scaling a mountain of losses in its retail sector was not enough to give Rock of Ages’ quarterly results much of a lift.

The Concord-based granite quarrier posted a retail income profit of $226,000 in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up from a loss of $2.1 million in the same quarter in 2005, but overall profits continued to decline.

Revenues for the third quarter of 2006 were $20.56 million, down 14 percent from $23.79 million in the third quarter of 2005. The largest decreases were in the company’s quarrying division, which slipped almost $1.8 million to $6.58 million in the third quarter. from $8.35 million in 2005.

Rock of Ages did narrow the gap in its net losses for the third quarter to $111,000, or 1 cent per share, up from a loss of $1.7 million, or 23 cents per share.

Gross profits were down 16 percent to $7.67 million from $9.12 million from the same quarter a year ago.

The company did significantly decrease its selling, general and administrative expenses, trimming more than $3 million, to end the third quarter of 2006 at $5.8 million, down from $8.85 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Divisional operating income also looked brighter in the third quarter of 2006, with $1,873,000, nearly a sevenfold increase from $270,000 for the same period last year.

“The restructuring of our retail business and our successful efforts to reduce costs throughout our organization are beginning to deliver the improved bottom-line performance we anticipated,” said Chairman and CEO Kurt Swenson. “Although overall retail revenue for this year’s third quarter declined compared to the third quarter of 2005 due to the loss of revenue from 12 unprofitable stores that we closed or sold in late 2005 and early 2006, retail operating income improved. We expect our retail business to about break even on an operating basis in the seasonally weaker fourth quarter, which would compare to an operating loss of $550,000 for the fourth quarter of 2005.” — CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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