Though housing starts have increased 29% over the first quarter of 2011, the majority of this increase represent home at price point where impact products are not generally installed. However, increased housing start is a good sign even if they are not houses that traditionally utilize our products. We’re confident that as the employment market in general economic conditions stabilize, housing starts of homes at various price points will increase and drive demand for our products.
In the interim, we will continue to take market share within the R&R market, drive additional operational improvement and focus our efforts to driving topline sales to leverage our cost structure. As part of our effort to drive topline sales, we are excited to announce the addition of Todd Antonelli to our executive team. Todd is joining our team as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He comes to PGT with many years of building products experience, most recently with Masco where he led sales teams in both the window and door and cabinet divisions. We are confident that Todd’s customer focused experience, expertise and proven track record will add incremental bench strength as we shift our focus from cost reduction and share preservation to aggressive topline growth and market share gains.
Our fixed costs and operational efficiencies are greatly improved and we have enjoyed significant financial benefit from the consolidation in each of our three most recent fiscal quarters. In terms of fixed costs, in 2011 we saved $1.5 million in each of the third and fourth quarters. In the first quarter of 2012, savings were $1.6 million and we are confident and we will reach our goal of $6 million to $7 million of annual savings.
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