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Zeeland office furniture maker Herman Miller has reported adjusted earnings growth of 23 percent in the third quarter of FY2013, which ended March 2.
The company (NASDAQ: MLHR) had net sales in the quarter of $423.5 million, an increase of 5.9 percent from the same quarter last year. New orders in the third quarter came in at $382 million, 6 percent higher than the prior-year period.
Net sales in the third went down 4 percent from the second quarter, and orders declined almost 20 percent. However, Herman Miller said those declines are generally consistent with average seasonal patterns in the office furniture industry.
The company reported third quarter diluted earnings of 28 cents per share; it was 26 cents in the same quarter last year. Earnings were reduced by expenses related to the company’s decision to end its defined benefit pension plans for U.S. employees.
“Our sales growth this quarter, combined with strong gross margins, helped drive a solid improvement in adjusted earnings from a year ago,” said CEO Brian Walker. “While we are pleased with the overall results, net sales and orders fell short of our expectations.”
He added that the shortfall was “primarily driven by the difficult environment in key economies outside the U.S., and declines in business with the U.S. federal government, including within the health care sector.”
However, Herman Miller offset the negative factors with growth over the year in the balance of its North American business.
“This improvement was complemented by double-digit sales growth within our Specialty and Consumer segment and growth in emerging markets driven by the acquisition of POSH. We are encouraged by the relative strength in the commercial sector of our North American business and in the overall progress we’re making in emerging markets and our Specialty and Consumer segment,” said Walker.