Whirlpool Corp. said Monday its 1Q profit fell 28% on slumping sales, softening consumer demand, and the stronger dollar. Profit fell to US$68 million from $94 million a year earlier. Sales dropped 23% to $3.57 billion from $4.6 billion a year earlier.
"Our focus is firmly on taking all the actions needed to ensure that we address this difficult economic environment," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and chief executive.
The company said it expects 2009 shipments to decline 10% to 12% from 2008 levels, compared with its previous estimate of a 10% decline.
"Looking at the components of demand, we now expect to see a 41% decline in new home completions," said Mike Todman, president of Whirlpool North America. "This is down approximately six points from our previous estimate. "Our forecast for existing home sales remains unchanged at a 9% decline."
"Some consumers continue to delay replacement purchases, even for appliances that are beyond repair, due to the economic uncertainty," Todman added. "However, many of our products are considered basic necessities by consumers, and any purchases that can be delayed ultimately will be replaced."
By region, North American sales of $2.1 billion were down 20% from the first quarter of 2008. Whirlpool Europe reported sales of $696 million, down 26%, while sales for Whirlpool Latin America dropped 26% to $689 million, and for Whirlpool Asia fell 13% to $120 million.
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