Net sales at American Woodmark Corp. in its fiscal first quarter ended July 31 jumped 20% above the same period last year to $131.2 million, the company announced today. The company's net loss improved to $2.7 million from $3.4 million a year ago.

Gross profit at the Winchester, Va.-based cabinet manufacturer increased 28% to $18.4 million that equals 14% of net sales. The company attributed the improvement in gross profit to the beneficial impact of increased sales volume on direct labor and overhead costs of manufacturing.

Operating loss improved to $4 million from $5.6 million in the year-earlier period. The company noted sales increased in both its remodel and new construction sales channels, but did not specify how much. Selling, general, and administrative costs were 17% of net sales, down from 18.2% a year ago. The company said operating expense ratio was bolstered by a 20% improvement in net sales that offset a 12% increase in costs.

American Woodmark cabinets are sold at home centers, major builders, and through a network of independent distributors. It produces cabinets under its own name for Home Depot, under the Shenandoah and Potomac brand names for Lowe's, and under the Timberlake name for homebuilders. The company operates 11 manufacturing facilities and nine service centers throughout the country.