Sales of $548.1 million were 16% higher than for 2003. Plumbing sales, which benefited from rising prices, were up 18%, and air conditioning sales rose 14%. Electrical/industrial sales increased 13%, mostly due to Noland's sharper focus on the strong commercial construction market, according to Lloyd U. Noland III, chairman.
Although gross profit margins were down slightly due to costs associated with the LIFO method of accounting for inventories, higher sales led to a 12% increase in gross profit for the year.
An 8% increase in operating expenses was attributed to costs associated with Noland's new central distribution center and five branches opened since mid-2003. Operating profit rose 57%, aided by gains from the sale of surplus property.
For the fourth quarter, sales were $139.5 million, up 19% vs. the same period in 2003. Net income for the quarter was $6.6 million, or $1.95 per share (diluted) compared with $3.3 million, or 97 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2003.
“We think the climate is right for another good housing construction year,” Noland said in a statement. “Plus, commercial construction is forecast to do even better than last year.”