U.S. Industries reported a 12% sales increase in the second quarter ended March 31 to $283.8 million, owing mainly to higher sales in the bath and plumbing segment. The company suffered a net loss of $33.3 million in the period, due to an impairment charge of $39.9 million related to its continuing disposal of non-core assets.

For the first half of fiscal 2003, its sales were up 12% to $549.7 million, with a net loss of $19.6 million. Sales in the bath and plumbing segment increased by 12.9% to $257.4 million for the second quarter and rose by 13.2% to $497.2 million for the first half. The company saw sales increase for its domestic spa and United Kingdom bath product lines, while sales of its commercial and institutional product lines decreased slightly but remained ahead of last year at this time.

USI said its operating earnings were affected by reduced margins generated by the domestic whirlpool bath product lines, combined with the cost of further process improvements and start-up costs associated with the initial stocking of the Lowe's stores.

Jacuzzi and Zurn are among the brand names in USI's bath and plumbing segment.