Acuity Brands' profits rise despite 13 percent sales slide

Lighting fixtures maker Acuity Brands said its fiscal first quarter profit rose profit rose about 20 percent, despite a 13 percent decline in sales. The Atlanta company reported a profit of $23.3 million, or 53 cents per share, compared with $19.4 million, or 47 cents per share in the comparable prior-year period. The prior year period included an after-tax charge of $13.8 million, or 34 cents per share. Sales fell, the company said, due to continued weakness in the real estate and construction sectors. But the declines were mitigated by lower costs for raw materials and its recently acquired controls units, Sensor Switch and Lighting Control & Design.