SPRINGDALE, Ark., May 17, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:AERT), a leading plastic recycler and manufacturer of Green building products, announced today that sales for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 were $16.4 million, down 2% from $16.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. This was due primarily to the removal of an old style of ChoiceDek handrail and the replacement of a new ChoiceDek handrail system in Lowe's stores nationwide, resulting in an unusually large amount of returns. AERT expects the new handrail products, combined with fully stocked shelves, to result in increased sales of handrail products in 2010. Without the returns of discontinued handrail, net sales increased $0.8 million, or 5%.
Cost of goods sold was lower in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009 due to cost-cutting measures implemented in 2009. Lower costs in 2010 resulted in an increase in gross margin as a percentage of sales to 19% in the first quarter of 2010 from 16% in 2009.
SG&A costs were down $0.6 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009. The company recorded operating income of $0.5 million for the quarter on reduced sales, an improvement of $1.0 million from a loss of $0.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. AERT's net loss was reduced by $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009.AERT's first quarter conference call is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 th at 4:00 EDT/3:00 CDT. To join the call, please dial 1-888-262-8836. Web access to the conference call can be found at http://www.aertinc.com/ir/webcasts.aspx. About Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. Since 1989, AERT (OTCBB:AERT) has pioneered the use of recycled polyethylene plastic in the manufacture of composite building materials. With its constantly evolving portfolio of patented and proprietary recycling technologies, AERT has been widely recognized as a leader in resource conservation innovation and received the EPA Award for Environmental Excellence for its process of converting scrap plastic to composite outdoor decking. AERT converts reclaimed plastic and wood fiber waste into quality outdoor decking systems, fence systems, and door and window components. The Company is the exclusive manufacturer of Weyerhaeuser ChoiceDek(r) decking, which is available in multiple colors and is sold in Lowe's Home Improvement stores nationwide. See http://www.choicedek.com for more information. AERT's MoistureShield(r) decking program is expanding and products are now available throughout the U.S. See http://www.moistureshield.com for product information or to find a regional distributor or dealer. AERT operates manufacturing facilities in Springdale and Lowell, Arkansas and recently commenced operations at its Green Age recycling facility in Watts, Oklahoma. For more information on the Company, visit http://www.aertinc.com. The AERT, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4905 Certain statements in this news release regarding projected results of operations, or, projected results of financial plans or future strategies and initiatives, including, but not limited to, projections of revenue, projections of profitability, any and all future expectation, and plans for future activities may and should be regarded as ``forward-looking statements'' within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements involve, among other things, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause AERT, Inc.'s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. AERT currently is considering, but may or may not in the future implement any or all of the items and issues listed in any planned budget or strategic initiative, due to, among other things, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors.