Huttig Building Products posted a $15.3 million net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2008, triple its loss in the year-earlier period, while its loss for the full year quadrupled to $35.2 million from $8 million in 2007.

In its SEC filing, the St. Louis-base distributor blamed the continued decline in housing starts for its problems, including a 30% decline in fourth-quarter net sales to $126 million. Sales for the year slid 23% to $671 million.

The operating results for 2008 included $11 million in charges for facility closures, inventory impairments, liquidations and goodwill. Huttig rang up $3.8 million worth of the same charges in 2007.

"During 2008, we continued our programs aimed at reducing our cost structure, managing inventories, generating cash, improving working capital and reducing debt," president and CEO Jon Vrabely said in a statement. "While we are not satisfied with our financial performance in 2008, these are unprecedented times and we will continue to focus on cost controls, preserving our liquidity and maintaining the integrity of our balance sheet to best position the company for the future."

Inventories declined 33% to $59.4 million as of Dec. 31. On that same day, Huttig had $44.5 million of availability under its revolving credit facility in addition to outstanding borrowings.

Huttig serves dealers and other curstomers through 30 distribution centers serving 45 states.