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Natuzzi's worldwide sales dip 5.2% in Q2

SANTERAMO IN COLLE, Italy — Leather upholstery major Natuzzi said worldwide sales fell 5.2% in the second quarter, and the company's net loss increased to $18.5 million.

The Italian company said sales continued to be weak in Europe, but noted that its High Point-based Natuzzi Americas unit also reported a 4.4% sales decline.

Sales in Europe fell 7.7% and the company said the upper-end Natuzzi Italia brand was especially hard hit, recording a 17% decline there.

Worldwide sales for the quarter totaled $149 million, down from $157.1 million in last year's second quarter.

The company, which publishes financial statements in Euros but reports key figures in U.S. dollars, said the second quarter net loss was $18.5 million, or 34 cents per share. That was up from a loss of $500,000, or 1 cent per share, in the same quarter last year. The company said an unfavorable sales mix, higher leather prices and higher labor costs at its factories in China and Romania contributed to the higher net loss.

For the first six months of 2013, worldwide sales fell 2.5% to $295.2 million. The decline came despite a 3.7% increase in sales at Natuzzi Americas.

The first-half net loss totaled $26.5 million, or 48 cents per share. That was more than double the net loss in the first half of last year, which totaled $11.6 million, or 21 cents per share.

In a statement accompanying the results, Chairman Pasquale Natuzzi said the company remains committed to completing a reorganization plan by the end of next year, once negotiations involving the Italian government and labor unions representing workers at its Italian factories are concluded.

"Next year we will be committed in the execution of the plan that will put the company again in a position of returning to compete," Natuzzi said. "There are further reasons to be reasonably optimistic about the future. In particular, we think that our ability to innovate, together with the dynamism of our commercial proposals will give a new boost to our sales."

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