American Woodmark Corp. reported today its net loss plunged to $5.3 million in its fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 31, more than 10 times deeper than the $481,000 loss it recorded in the year-earlier period. Sales dropped 23% to $104.1 million.

The Winchester, Va.-based cabinet maker, whose brands include Timberlake cabinetry for new homes plus special brands for The Home Depot and Lowe's, said gross profit shrank 34.9% to $12.7 million, or 12.0% of net sales, from $19.5 million, or 15.2% of net sales, in last fiscal year's second quarter. That was partly due to relatively higher sales, marketing and administration expenses as a percentage of sales.

The company launched several initiatives last winter to reduce costs, including the permanent closure of two manufacturing plants, suspension of operations at a third plant, and cuts in salaried personnel. Those initiatives results in $146,000 in after-tax restructuring costs during the second quarter.

With the new results, American Woodmark's net loss for the first six months of its fiscal year deepened to $11.7 million from $324,000 in April through October 2008. That's on a 25.2% decline in sales to $204.9 million and a 41% drop in gross profit to $24.5 million.

American Woodmark bills itself as America's third-largest manufacturer of kitchen and bath cabinets, with 11 manufacturing facilities in eight states.