Noland Co. (Newport News, Va.) reported its net income for the year 2003 was $12.4 million, up 30% from 2002, while sales of $471.8 million were down 3% from the prior year. Air conditioning sales rose 10%. Plumbing sales declined by 5%, attributed to a weakness in commercial construction coupled with record rainfall in most of Noland's territory that delayed numerous construction projects, according to Lloyd U. Noland III, chairman. Sales for the wholesaler's electrical/industrial operations, which were downsized in 2002 by the cancellation of several unprofitable integrated supply accounts, were down 20%. Higher gross profit margins led to a $2.6 million increase in the company's gross profit in 2003.

For the fourth quarter, Noland reported sales of $117.3 million, up 1% vs. 2002 and net income of $3.3 million, 9% lower than 2002.

Noland said housing construction activity should remain at healthy levels in 2004, while commercial construction is expected to show growth later in the year.