A plunge in non-residential roofing and related product sales hindered Beacon Roofing Supply's overall sales for the third quarter.

Beacon's sales declined 9.9% to $463.6 million from sales of $514.6 million in the third quarter 2008.

While residential roofing sales grew 10.4% during the quarter, non-residential roofing and complementary product sales fell 25.6% and 25.1%. The Peabody, Mass.-based roofing materials distributor attributed the increase in residential roofing sales to higher average year-over-year prices along with strong activity in markets affected by Hurricane Ike. However, Beacon said sales have started to diminish in those markets.

The company attributes the drop in non-residential and complementary products to the withering economy and low levels of new construction.

Beacon's net income for the third quarter fell 5.9% to $17.2 million compared to a net income of $18.3 million in the third quarter 2008. In the second quarter 2009, Beacon reported a $2.4 million net loss.

The company also reported that its operating expenses dropped 10.8% to $9 million following reductions in payroll and related costs as well as reductions in selling expenses, including fuel costs.

"We are pleased with our financial performance in this challenging economic environment, particularly our ability to generate significant cash flow," Robert Buck, Beacon Chairman and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

In the first nine months of 2009, Beacon's sales increased 2.4% to $1.246 billion from $1.217 billion in last year's first nine months. The company's net income during the nine-month period more than doubled to $33.4 million compared to $15.4 million in 2008.

"Despite the sales decline in the quarter when compared to last year's very strong third quarter, our regional leadership did a terrific job in controlling variable costs," Buck said. "Our focus in these areas and our typical high level of customer service have produced these solid year-to-date results."

Operating expenses in the first nine months declined $9.1 million to $225.4 million, primarily due to the same factors the company gave for a third quarter decline in operating costs.

Beacon Roofing Supply ranked 6th in the most recent ProSales 100 with total 2008 sales of $1.784 billion. The company operates 169 locations in 35 states and three provinces in Eastern Canada.