National Presto Industries, an Eau Claire-based company that produces housewares, small appliances and ammunition, announced recently that sales fell 3.1 percent last year.

The company ended last year with $323.3 million in net sales — $10.3 million less than 2017’s figure.

Deterioration of the retail sector was attributed as a main cause of a 3.6 percent drop in housewares and small appliances, according to a company news release.

“Not only were there more store closings, but the precarious financial position of some customers necessitated holding shipments and/or cancelling orders,” Presto stated.

A flood at a key supplier also precluded delivery of some of Presto’s holiday merchandise, the release added.

Presto’s defense segment’s sales were down 2.9 percent last year, which the company attributed to shipment timing from its backlog.

Net consolidating earnings also fell last year, but that was due in large part to 2017’s figures including revenues from the sale of Presto’s absorbent products business to Drylock.

Last year’s net consolidated earnings were $39.9 million — a 22 percent decline from the $53 million posted in 2017. About $9.6 million of that drop is attributed to selling off the absorbent products business.

The company’s board of directors did decide to give Presto stockholders a large dividend next month.

In addition to the regular $1 per share dividend, stockholders of record will get an extra $5 on March 15.