Universal Forest Products Inc. (UFPI) on Wednesday announced net earnings of $124,000 for the fourth quarter 2010, which was a huge swing from the $663,000 loss the company took during the same period in 2009. The company also posted net sales of $378.7 million for the quarter, an increase of 12% over fourth quarter 2009's numbers.

The company noted higher lumber prices that pushed up selling prices, which grew by 4% during the quarter, as the cause for the improved performance.

For the year, the UFPI announced net sales of $1.9 billion, up from the $1.7 billion the company posted in 2009. The company did see a decline in net earnings, however, to $17.4 million from $24.3 million a year earlier.

"We said our focus in 2010 would be growing our top line, and that's exactly what we did," said CEO Michael B. Glenn. "I'm proud of our people , and of our ability to maintain profitability and the best balance sheet in the industry."

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company saw growth in all its segments. The DIY/retail segment posted sales of $136.1 million, up 4.5% compared to the same period in 2009.

Site-built construction sales increased during the quarter by 15.9% to $66.3 million. For the fiscal year 2010, UFPI's site-built segment posted sales of $269.5 million, a 9.1% improvement over 2009. While single family housing starts, and housing starts as whole, were down for both the quarter and the year, the company focused on diversification by concentrating on commercial, government, and turnkey projects. UFPI also restructured its two site-built divisions in the Eastern U.S. to create more efficiency and facilitate growth.

UFPI's manufactured housing division announced fourth quarter sales of $49.6 million, a 1.6% increase over fourth quarter 2009. For the year, the segment witnessed a 32.2% increase in sales to $243 million. The company said the results reflect UFPI's huge share of the market as well as a 15% increase in unit sales to the market for the year.

"Universal is a sales company that has grown revenue year after year," Glenn said. "The recent era of rightsizing and declining sales has been tough on our people and culture, and we're now happy to be focused instead on new products, new opportunities and growth."

While growth was evident, the company did note that the tough economic times and uncertainty in the housing sector has made it difficult to provide meaningful and confident analysis for the future.