Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC), America's sixth-biggest LBM company, incurred a net loss of $8.6 million in September, its best showing since entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, even though its total sales and gross margin slipped.

The Boise, Idaho-based dealer's filing to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court reported $61.1 million in sales, down 5% from August. The $50.1 million total for cost of goods sold put BMHC's gross margin at 18% this month vs. 19.4% in August. Sales, general and administrative costs amounted to $15 million.

As of Sept. 30, BMHC had $103.8 million in accounts receivable, of which $22.7 million, or 21.9% were 91 or more days past due. That's a slight improvement from 22.6% in August.

September's $8.6 million loss was a little more than half as much as its $15.9 million loss in August and betters its $9.4 million loss in July and, on a full-month basis, the $6.9 million loss for the final two weeks of June. BMHC filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code on June 16.

The reduced losses can't be attributed to extra sales. September's $61.1 million in total sales were lower than any previous month in Chapter 11--$64.3 million in August, $66.3 million in July, and $33.5 million for the second half of June.

Earlier this month, a federal bankruptcy judge approved BMHC's disclosure statement, a key step in its bid to reorganize itself. In an Oct. 22 statement, BMHC said it "remains on track to complete its financial restructuring" and emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of this year.

BMHC was the No. 6 dealer on this year's ProSales 100, with total sales in 2008 of $1.3 billion. But in the 12-month period ended Aug. 31, BMHC's revenue had shrunk to $842 million, its assets were worth $406 million and its liabilities totaled $459 million.