I need to remind you that certain comments made during this call may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our actual results and future financial conditions may differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements as a result of many factors that may be outside of our control. Please refer to our SEC filings, including our annual report filed on Form 10-K for a complete discussion of the major risks and uncertainties that may affect our business. The forward-looking statements made today are as of the date of this call and we do not undertake any obligation to update our forward-looking statements.
If you do not have a copy of yesterday’s press release, you may obtain one along with copies of prior press releases and past SEC filings by linking through to the Investor Relations page of our website, furniturebrands.com.
I would now like to turn the call over to Steve, who will provide the highlights of our first quarter results. Steve?
Steve RollsThank you, Frank. As reported in last evening’s financial results press release, total sales for the first quarter decreased 7.6% over the same period last year. On a sequential basis, sales in the first quarter increased 7.9% versus the fourth quarter of 2010. During the quarter, we saw sequential progress each month with sales comparisons to the prior year improving as the negative impact of the inclement weather was reduced. Gross margin for the quarter was 26%, roughly flat compared to 26.2% last year. SG&A expenses totaled $79.6 million for the first quarter compared to $79.9 million last year. This is not the quarterly run rate we expect going forward. We expect SG&A will be a little higher than this level in future quarters due to expense timing of some items like advertising and people-related costs.