Builders FirstSource, the Dallas-based pro dealer, reported first quarter 2008 sales fell 34.2% to $270.5 million, compared to first quarter 2007 sales of $411.1 million. The company also reported a first quarter net loss of $15.8 million, compared to a net income of $200,000 during the same period last year.

Noting that "conditions" in the housing industry have fallen for eight consecutive quarters, Builders FirstSource CEO Floyd Sherman said housing starts in the first quarter fell 39.1% in the markets the dealer servers.

"With the prolonged decline in macroeconomic conditions, we are experiencing pricing pressure from both our customers and competitors," Sherman said in a prepared statement released late April 24. The company also said commodity lumber and lumber sheet goods prices had a 0.7% negative effect on sales.

"In spite of the continued difficult macroeconomic conditions and highly competitive pricing environment, market share gains had a 4.1% positive effect on our sales," Sherman said.

Additionally, Sherman warned that sluggish market conditions might be far from over. "Although we have seen some stabilization in annualized starts, we are cautious. We believe there is a possibility we could see further declines in annualized starts," he said.

Builders FirstSource also continues to cut payroll expenses in an effort to combat slumping sales. Average full-time equivalent employees for the first quarter 2008 were 23.6% lower than the first quarter 2007 and 9.3% lower than the fourth quarter 2007. Overall salaries and benefits, excluding stock compensation expense, fell $14.1 million, or 23.8% during the quarter.

Builders FirstSource operates 66 yards and 62 manufacturing facilities in 13 states, primarily in the southern and eastern United States.