WESCO International, Inc., Pittsburgh, a provider of electrical maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) products, recently announced that its first-quarter 2009 profit fell 45.4% to $23.3 million, compared with $42.7 million in the same period a year ago, according to Industrial Info Resources, Sugar Land, Texas. Sales fell 19.5% to $1.18 billion from $1.47 billion as a result of a steep decline in demand, the company said.

As a result of the weak performance, WESCO closed five underperforming branches, affecting 500 workers during the quarter, reported Industrial Info Resources. "Discretionary spending was reduced in excess of 30% during the quarter," says Steve Van Oss, CFO of WESCO. "Furthermore, capital expenditures have been deferred or eliminated, resulting in a 75% reduction in cash outlays versus last year's first quarter." According to Van Oss, the company is taking steps to reduce costs by about $100 million in 2009.