Dal-Tile International Inc. recently announced record sales and profits for the first quarter of 2001. Sales increased $15.5 million, or 6.7%, to $245.6 million compared to $230.1 million in the first quarter of 2000. On a pro forma -- fully taxed basis, net income for the quarter increased $2.5 million, or 17.9%, over the prior quarter to $16.5 million, or $0.29 per share. Growth was achieved across all distribution channels. Versus the prior year, sales through company-operated sales centers increased 8.0%, while sales to independent distributors and home centers increased 3.9% and 7.2%, respectively. Profit margin before tax increased 100 basis points to 10.9% due to improved productivity, reduced operating costs and lower interest expense. Free cash flow was $8.0 million versus $3.5 million in the prior year, and debt decreased $85.1 million to $319 million versus first quarter prior year.
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