Crystal Rock Holdings, a Connecticut-based marketer and distributor of water, coffee and refreshment products, has reported a net loss of $54,000 in the first quarter ended on 31 January 2012, compared to a net income of $120,000 in the same period a year ago.

Total sales for the quarter increased marginally 1% to $17.2m, from $17.1m last year.

Gross profit declined 2% to $8.6m this quarter and as a percentage of sales, it dipped to 50% this year, from 51% in 2011. Operating income stood at $427,000, a decline of $149,000 from $576,000 in 2011 first quarter.

Crystal Rock Holdings CEO Peter Baker said although the slight sales increase resulted in slightly lower profitability for the quarter when compared to the prior year, as a result of changing product mix and a competitive marketplace, the company is confident that the steps it is taking will help solidify its business.

"We continue to progress with the implementation of key strategic initiatives — building our sales organization, finalizing technology infrastructure and expanding product lines," added Baker.

Crystal Rock’s majority of sales come from a route distribution system that supplies reusable, recyclable water bottles ranging from three gallon to five gallon, and coffee in fractional packs or pods.

The company, which operates through its subsidiary Crystal Rock, bottles and distributes natural spring water under the Vermont Pure brand, purified water with added minerals under the Crystal Rock Waters label, and roasts and packages coffee under Cool Beans brand.

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