Beacon Roofing Supply, the nation's third-biggest pro-oriented building material dealer, reported today its net loss for its fiscal second quarter ended March 31 dropped to $9.8 million from $12.1 million in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 7.4% to $413.2 million.
President and CEO Paul Isabella noted the Herndon, Va.-based company's first-half sales topped $1 billion for the first time ever. (The financial statement puts sales at $1,009,226.) 

"This achievement underscores our continued focus on growth through existing markets, acquisitions, and greenfields," Isabella said in a statement. "We already have opened five new branches in 2015, with more to come this year. Although our second quarter always is challenging due to winter weather conditions, and despite record snowfalls in our Northeast market, we saw growth in our residential product line of 9.7%. Complementary product sales remain a bright spot, with 13.7% growth in the quarter, and commercial product sales also grew in the quarter and year-to-date. Just as important was our 80 basis point improvement in gross margins."

Residential roofing products figured in 49.5% of all sales, while non-residential roofing products contributed another 33.4%. The rest involved sales of complementary building products.

Gross profit rose to 23.4% from 22.6%, but A 6.7% year-over-year increase in operating expenses, to $110.1 million for the January-to-March period, left the company with an operating loss of $14,2 million, slightly better than last year's operating loss of $17,2 million Interest expenses and financing costs that amount to 0.6% of sales added another $2.5 million to the red ink, while a $6.9 million income-tax benefit kept things from being worse than they'd have looked otherwise.

The asset side of Beacon's balance sheet notes that goodwill accounts for $488.3 million of its $1.39 billion in total assets, while the liabilities side includes more than $200 million worth of senior notes and long-term obligations.

Beacon now operates 271 branches in 42 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces.