Patterson Dental reports lower sales for Q3

Sales for Patterson Dental Supply, Patterson's largest business, totaled $557 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011 (end-Jan 29), down 3% from $572.1 million in the same period a year ago, the company announced.

The company reported that while sales of consumable dental supplies and printed office products rose 3% from last year's third quarter, dental equipment and software sales were down 12% due to weaker than anticipated sales of technology offerings, including Cerec.

"Earlier in the year, we made the decision to reduce promotional activities for our Cerec and digital products during the latter half of fiscal 2011, based upon our belief that the market was regaining sufficient strength to sell our technology offerings without additional incentives," said Scott Anderson, president and CEO. "This assumption proved premature, and as a result, our technology sales fell short of forecasted levels, resulting in our flat sales and earnings in the third quarter."

The fundamentals of the North American dental market are strengthening as evidenced by Patterson's improved consumables sales growth during the third quarter, Anderson added.

Overall, the company reported consolidated sales of $824.7 million for the third quarter of 2011, up slightly from $820.1 million in the same quarter a year ago, while net income of $55.4 million was essentially unchanged from $56 million in the same period last year.

Reflecting its third-quarter results and outlook for the fourth quarter, Patterson revised its full-year guidance to $1.86 to $1.88 per diluted share from the previously issued guidance of $1.89 to $1.99.

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