Even with a 16 percent drop in sales to $45.6 million for the first quarter ended March 31, Nautilus improved its net loss to $7.8 million, compared with $13.8 million in the year-ago period. Retail sales jumped by 27 percent to $15.9 million on the strength of ellipticals and redesigned bicycles. However, direct sales fell by 30 percent to $28.5 million because of a 37 percent drop in the number of credit approvals by its credit finance partner. It added that it is looking for a new credit partner, hopefully before the fourth quarter, its peak period. Customer response to its cardio and strength products remained strong. The consumer- direct unit thus posted an operating loss of $1.5 million against a profit of $2.7 million last year, while retail’s operating profit grew by 63 percent to $2.3 million. Nautilus noted that the first quarter of this year was the first one without significant non-recurring charges, as it sold most of the assets of its discontinued commercial business at the end of April. It also indicated that, with the restructuring complete, it would begin efforts to recruit a permanent chief executive with experience in the fitness industry to return the company to growth.