> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. reported a $31.1 million loss for the three months ended July 30.

The loss during the first quarter of Fleetwood’s fiscal year 2001 compared with a profit of $26.4 million earned a year earlier.

The loss occurred because of “significantly reduced sales” of motorhomes and manufactured housing, said Nelson Potter, president.

One-time-only expenses related to factory closings and restructuring costs, including employment severance benefits, also contributed to the loss, Potter said.

The plant closures included four manufactured housing factories and a travel trailer assembly plant in Omaha.

Fleetwood’s RV operations posted a $13.3 million operating loss during the May-through-July quarter, Potter said. The loss occurred “mainly as a result of a downturn in motorhome sales, along with unusually high operating costs in the motorhome division and non-recurring RV restructuring expenses.”

The unusually high motorhome operating costs were “mainly attributed to production inefficiencies associated with lower volume, inventory writedowns on obsolete raw materials and higher selling costs,” according to the company. “Increases in product warranty costs and sales incentives required to move out model year 2000 products and slow-moving models drove motorhome selling costs to unusually high levels.”

Meanwhile, Fleetwood’s travel trailer and folding camper divisions both were profitable during the May-through-July period, but their earnings were down due to reduced sales volume, according to the company.