The housing slump is leaving Black & Decker Manufacturing Co.'s tools on the shelf, the big Maryland-based tool maker reported yesterday.

Sales for the first quarter were chopped by 11 percent and profits were down by 38 percent, stockholders were told at the company's annual meeting in Hempstead, Md.

"Recessionary forces in North America and the generally depressed economies of Europe are resulting in weak end-user sales, and financial pressures on distributors and retailers to maintain low inventory levels," said Chairman Francis Lucier.

Chain-saw sales have been particularly dull "and accounted for a major share of the profit decline," Lucier said. The Black & Decker chairman told stockholders he saw no immediate prospect that the tool trade will brighten.

Executives said Black & Decker has been hurt by the downturn in new residential construction and slumping resales of existing homes.

Sales of tools to professionals have been affected by the homebuilding slump, and the do-it-yourselfer business is depressed because people aren't moving into older homes either, said William Hammer, Black & Decker's spokesman.

First-quarter sales measured only $365.4 million, against $411.6 million in the same period a year ago; profits were trimmed from $24.4 million (58 cents a share) to $15.1 million (36 cents).