Beacon Roofing Supply posted a $6.2 million net loss on $296.3 million in net sales during its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, the company announced today. Sales increased 3.8% from $285.4 million in the same period a year ago, while the net loss improved from $6.5 million in the January-March 2010 period.

The Peabody, Mass.-based roofing material supplier's operating loss deepened to $6.8 million from $6 million. Operating costs increased by roughly $5 million to $72.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and stock-based compensation (Adjusted EBITDA) declined by 58% during the quarter to $900,000.

In a press release, company said the lower net loss was "due to the higher sales and gross margin rate and lower interest expense, partially offset by the impact from higher operating expenses and a lower income tax benefit." Gross margin rate was 22%, while the interest expense during the quarter fell to $3.2 million from $5.5 million.

"Despite an even harsher winter in most of the northern U.S., we managed to beat last year's results," said president and CEO Paul Isabella. "Our second quarter 2011 results did fall short of our expectations, but our first-half results tracked close to our fiscal year 2011 plan and also ahead of last year's first half."

As for the first half of the company's 2011 fiscal year, sales increased 7.4% to $701.1 million, while net income more than doubled to $3.9 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the half decreased by 2% to $28.6 million.

Beacon Roofing Supply is America's second largest roofing supply dealer behind ABC Supply. It operates 179 branches in 37 states, as well as three Canadian provinces.