The ongoing slump in housing credit and sales is affecting every sector of the home building industry, including manufacturers of tools and other products used in construction.
Citing "an increasingly difficult business environment," publicly traded Black & Decker Corp., which includes tool manufacturer DeWalt and security products maker Kwikset, announced that sales fell 5% in the first quarter of 2008. The company reduced its profit forecast for the rest of the year, according to Reuters news service. DeWalt officials could not be reached for comment.
Other tool manufacturers declined to comment, although a number of industry sources acknowledged a slowdown in both sales and production activity related to home construction.
Not all the news was dismal, however. Metabo Power Tools reported its business grew in 2007 and remained steady in the first quarter of 2008, thanks to its industrial and commercial construction sales, which have been less impacted by the housing downturn.
Product manager Terry Tuerk said that most tool manufacturers "saw a significant decline in sales last year...especially those that are tied very closely with residential construction and sales through the big box stores."