Northamber has remained downbeat about the short term prospect for improvements in the market as it reported a 9% fall in sales for its fiscal first quarter.
The drop in revenues for the three months ended September "was similar to the levels of price erosion during the period, but significantly lower than the 22% decline in sales for the year to 30 June 2009 compared with the prior year," it said.
On a brighter note, the Surrey-based distributor revealed that gross margins "held up reasonably well", declining one quarter of a per cent year-on-year.
Costs continued to be tightly controlled by the firm with approximately £500k saved in overheads compared to a year earlier.
This helped to offset the continued impact of low interest rates; cash in the bank has been Northamber's main profit generator in recent times
"The net result was a small loss but less than the corresponding period last year and for what is traditionally our weakest quarter," said the distributor.
"The latent impact of the new franchises as referred to in the year-end statement, are anticipated to show an impact later in the year," it said.
The shift in the portfolio increased stock levels during the period but cash balances remained in excess of £9m.
There is a sense among some companies and industry watchers that the markets have bottomed out but Northamber's forecast continued to err on the side of caution.
"The sector as a whole continues to experience challenging and difficult times, and we are similarly affected by those prevailing conditions and the outlook continues to be difficult to assess," said Northamber.