But, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel...Chip manufacturer National Semiconductor has reported a 47 per cent decline in first quarter as sales continue to decline by 15 per cent. The company saw its revenue fall to $339m compared with $641m the previous year. In addition it reported a net loss of $54.6m compared with net earnings of $144.2m. It has been caught in the midst of the worst ever decline in the chip industry, but believes there are signs of improvement. A National Semiconductor spokesman said the company's bookings have increased during Q1, even though its sales declined 15 per cent during the first quarter. The company believes its second quarter sales will rise by five to seven per cent and it intends to curtail the decline in its gross margins by controlling plant activity. This will be achieved by provisionally closing some manufacturing lines, which will help to avoid the influx of large inventories. By the eve of Thursday National Semiconductor shares were up 0.99 per cent to $30.52.