Full year sales growth was strong in both the commercial and residential segments. Sales through company-operated sales centers increased 16.6 percent versus last year, while American Olean sales were flat and Home Center sales were slightly below prior year levels. Gross margin decreased from 48.2 percent in 1999 to 47.7 percent in 2000 due primarily to higher natural gas prices and the strong Mexican Peso. Transportation costs increased from 6.7 percent of sales in 1999 to 6.8 percent of sales in 2000 as fuel prices increased and service demands grew with the expanding residential business. These increases in cost were partially offset by corporate spending reductions, which contributed to a decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses from 27.4 percent of sales in 1999 to 26.0 percent in 2000.
``This year provided many challenges for our team due to the strong Peso and increased fuel and natural gas costs,'' said Jacques Sardas, chairman, president and CEO. ``Yet, we faced each challenge with immediate initiatives for improvement, and through efficient teamwork and determination we succeeded in offsetting many of these costs.''
``We have many challenges and opportunities ahead of us,'' added Sardas. ``With uncertainty about the economy and direction of energy costs, we must continue, as we have in the past, to outperform the industry by supplying our customers with better products, better service and better value. We will intensify our efforts to introduce new and exciting products across all product lines, and support these efforts through expansion of low-cost capacity and facilities, while continuing our focus on cost reductions within our supply chain.''
Dal-Tile is the largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of ceramic tile in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company has approximately 7,500 employees at its facilities in North America.