Posted April 26, 2017

Essendant sales decline 6.1 percent

Essendant reported that net sales decreased 6.1% to $1.3 billion for the first quarter.

The decline was driven principally by reduced sales in technology products and JanSan categories, partly offset by growth in cut-sheet paper products and industrial supplies categories.

The wholesaler reported a net loss of $188.6 million, or a loss of $5.15 per share, compared to net income of $16.5 million, or 45 cents, in the same period last year.

Industrial Supplies revenues of $146.7 million increased 5.2%, driven by growth initiatives and improving sector environment, the company said.

"We are pleased to be building momentum behind our initiatives, including improvement in our industrial supplies category, and we are on track to enhance Essendant's long-term earnings power, while recognizing we still have work to do to improve our top line," said Robert B. Aiken Jr., president and chief executive officer. "Our transformation actions are centered upon driving merchandising excellence through better sourcing and assortment and stronger alignment between our pricing and our cost to serve. We are also taking action to win back revenue in the JanSan distributor channel, diversifying and growing our industrial channel, driving productivity and cost reductions and further reducing our working capital. Through these actions we expect to deliver improved financial performance and value for shareholders."