Lumber Liquidators sales again fall more than feared

Lumber Liquidators on Monday reported a bigger-than-expected drop in sales for the third straight quarter as it struggles to revive demand following a report that some of its flooring laminates contained excessive levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.

Shares of Lumber Liquidators shares fell nearly 10 percent in premarket trading following the report. (Get the latest quote here.)

The company on Monday also named Dennis Knowles, a former executive of home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc, as its chief operating officer, filling a position that has remained vacant since 2012.

Lumber Liquidators' last COO was Robert Lynch, who became chief executive in 2012 but resigned last May following the scandal related to its China laminates.

The company's stock and sales have been hammered since a "60 Minutes" report on CBS last March said the retailer's laminates from China contained excessive levels of formaldehyde.

Lumber Liquidators got some breathing space in early February after U.S. federal tests found a low risk of cancer from some of the company's laminate flooring.

But that was short lived, as two weeks later the report was revised to say the risk of cancer was three times higher than previously estimated.

Lumber Liquidators said on Monday there was a decrease in both the number of customers it billed and the average sale value in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Sales at Lumber Liquidators' stores open more than 12 months fell 17.2 percent in the quarter, steeper than the 12 percent drop expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

Net sales fell 13.7 percent to $234.8 million, coming in below analysts' average estimate of $254.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales had fallen 11.3 percent and 5.8 percent in the third and second quarters, respectively.

The company reported a net loss of $19.8 million, or 73 cents per share, in the latest quarter, compared with a profit of $17.3 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier.

Lumber Liquidators' costs jumped due to higher legal expenses and a fall in the carrying value of the laminates it sourced from China, which it decided not to sell.

Analysts expected Lumber Liquidators to post a loss of 19 cents per share on $254 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people exposed to some types of the retailer's flooring were three times more likely to get cancer than previously estimated. The discrepancy came from an error in calculating ceiling height, the agency said.

The company's chief executive John Presley also said this month he had been diagnosed with leukemia. He told employees he had a "very treatable form" of the disease.

CNBC contributed to this report.