Apogee Enterprises’ first quarter 2021 financial results were down in comparison to Q1 2020 due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s net sales dropped 19%, from $355 million to $289 million year-over-year. Apogee’s gross profit dropped from $81 million in Q1 2020 to $60 million in Q1 2021, a -26% change. Operating income was $6.5 million this quarter compared to $23 million in Q1 2020, a 72% drop.

“We navigated our way through a very challenging quarter, with several significant COVID-19 related headwinds across our business. Most notably, the large-scale optical segment had a near-complete shutdown of its customers for most of the quarter. Our three architectural segments continued to operate as essential businesses, but saw several projects temporarily halted or delayed. We also had large numbers of COVID-related absences in our workforce, particularly in the architectural glass segment, and added costs as we adapted our operations to promote a healthy workplace environment for our employees. Despite these headwinds, we were able to effectively manage our capacity and costs to deliver positive earnings and strong cash flow,” says Joseph F. Puishys, chief executive officer. “Following the end of the first quarter, we are beginning to see signs of improvement in our end markets and the economy and we remain optimistic that our results in the coming quarters will be stronger than the first quarter. Our large-scale optical customers have begun to gradually reopen. In our architectural segments, we expect project delays and workforce absences to moderate and our strong backlog provides good visibility in the longer lead-time parts of our business. Additionally, we should see increased benefit from our cost reduction actions as we enter the second quarter. Given the uncertainty in our end markets and the economy, at this time we are not providing guidance for fiscal 2021, but will strive to offer more details as the economic situation stabilizes.”

Architectural Framing Systems Segment

First-quarter revenue for Apogee’s architectural framing systems segment, which includes Alumicor, EFCO Corp., Linetec, Sotawall, Tubelite and Wausau Window and Wall Systems, was $150.2 million, compared to $180.5 million in the prior year period. Operating income in the quarter was $7.3 million, with operating margin of 4.9%, compared to $12.3 million and 6.8% respectively in the prior year quarter, reflecting the lower revenue, partially offset by the impact of cost reduction actions. Segment backlog stands at $423 million, compared to $432 million a quarter ago.

Architectural Glass Segment

First-quarter revenue for the architectural glass segment, which includes Viracon, was $76.9 million, compared to $100.3 million in the prior year quarter. The segment had an operating loss of $0.5 million and operating margin was -0.6%, down from operating income of $6.4 million and margin of 6.4% in last year’s first quarter, due to leverage on the lower volume and COVID-19 related costs.

Architectural Services Segment

Revenue for the architectural services segment, which includes Harmon was $63.6 million in the first quarter, compared to $65.1 million in the prior-year quarter. First-quarter operating income was $5.3 million with operating margin of 8.4%, up from $4.6 million and 7%, respectively in the prior-year period, driven by strong project execution, disciplined project selection and effective cost management. Architectural services continued to have strong order flow during the quarter, with segment backlog increasing to a record $685 million, up from $660 million last quarter, and up more than 40% from $483 million a year ago.

Large-Scale Optical Segment

Revenue for the large-scale optical segment, which includes Tru Vue, was $6.3 million, down from $21.3 million in the first quarter last year, as most of the segment’s customers were closed for a large part of the quarter to comply with various state and local government directives. In response to the lower demand, and to comply with state government directives, the segment closed its two primary manufacturing locations for most of the first quarter. These facilities are expected to resume operations late in the second quarter, as customers reopen. The segment had an operating loss of $3.1 million and operating margin of -49.6%, compared to operating income of $4.2 million and margin of 19.6% in last year’s first quarter, reflecting the lower volume.