Universal Forest Product Inc.'s (UFPI) sales to the site-built construction market grew just 0.9% in the first quarter to reach $60.9 million, the company reported late Wednesday. But gains by other divisions enabled UFPI to increase its overall sales by 8.7% to $393 million and swing to a net profit of nearly $1 million from a year-earlier $1.2 million net loss.

UFPI said the first-quarter sales in the site-built construction unit "follows a fourth-quarter decrease of more than 42%, reflecting, in part, the company's focus on specific areas of promise, including commercial and military projects, and on remaining a preferred supplier to the country's more successful builders. ... The company continues to believe that 2010 will be marked by a modest improvement in the [site-built] market, and is focused on areas of opportunity in commercial and governmental projects."

Sales in the do-it-yourself/retail market slipped 1.9% to $164.4 million. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company noted the first quarter "was not conducive to outdoor building products," including record cold in the Southeast, hurricane-force winds in California, and record-breaking snowstorms in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

"That said, we are pleased to be showing traction in our site-built business and healthy increases in both our industrial and manufactured housing markets," CEO Michael B. Glenn said in a statement. "These results underscore the strength of our growth strategies, including diversification into new markets and products, and they give us momentum and optimism for our future." Sales to the industrial packaging/components market jumped 20.4% from the year earlier to reach $126 million, and sales to the manufactured housing market climbed 32.2% to $48.4 million. (See earnings statement.)