Slow Sales

June 02, 2009 (LBO) – Listed consumer durables firm Singer (Sri Lanka) said March 2009 quarter profits plunged 79 percent to 26 million rupees from a year ago as consumer spending slumped amid an economic slowdown. Group sales for the three months ended March 31, 2009 fell 23 percent to three billion rupees, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

It reported sharp falls in pre-tax profits from consumer products and consumer electronics, and sewing and kitchen related products.

Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya said in a statement sales had stabilised at lower levels while the firm had also managed to cut costs.

” . . . in comparison to the third quarter of 2008, when we saw early signs of a declining economy and the fourth quarter of 2008 where negative market trends aggravated further, our current quarter™s revenue remains stable and in line with forecasts,” he said. .

“As we adjust to changing slow market conditions I am pleased to report that we have been able to benefit from global trends in cost reductions for merchandise to improve gross margins to 39.6 percent.”

The firm’s single biggest expense line, selling and administrative cost, has been successfully pruned down by 108 mi