American Woodmark Corp. more than halved its net loss from the same period a year ago to hit $2.9 million in its fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 31, the company announced today. The kitchen cabinet manufacturer and distributor, whose brands include Timberlake and Waypoint Living Spaces, also reported a 19% increase in net sales to $128.4 million.

Gross profit at the Winchester, Va.-based company jumped 64% to $16.1 million, while operating loss improved by almost two-thirds to $4.6 million. Gross profit margin was 12.5% of sales, up more than three percentage points from the same period last year.

The company cited a positive impact of increased sales volume on labor and manufacturing overhead costs as the reason for the increase in gross profit margin. Those positive gains were partially offset, however, by a negative impact of higher material and fuel costs. The company said it experienced double digit gains in each of its sales channels in the quarter.

The manufacturer generated a positive free cash flow, which it defines as cash provided by operating activities net of cash used for investing activities, of $1.1 million, a more than $4 million decline compared with last year's second quarter. The company said last year's results were aided by proceeds from the sale of a closed plant and a larger federal income tax refund.

American Woodmark produces and distributes kitchen cabinets and vanities for both new construction and remodeling. It s products are sold through home centers, independent building material dealers, and builders.