Steelcase Posts More Losses

    GRAND RAPIDS — Steelcase Inc. posted another sales decline and loss to finish its fiscal year and anticipates further, albeit smaller, losses in the 12 months ahead.

    Steelcase on Monday night reported fourth quarter revenues of $563.4 million, a 9.7 percent decrease over the $623.8 million in the same period a year ago that included an additional week. Excluding the impact of the additional week, sales were down by 2.7 percent for the quarter from year-ago levels.

    The company’s quarterly net loss was $18.4 million, or 13 cents per share, including a $2.9 million after-tax net gain. The net loss, the result of pricing pressures and inefficiencies related to plant consolidations, the company said, compare with net income of $17.6 million, or 12 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

    For the fiscal year that ended Feb. 27, Steelcase reported revenues of $2.34 billion, a 7.3 percent decline from the $2.52 billion in fiscal year 2003 that included an additional week. Minus the added week, revenues were down 5.6 percent.

    Steelcase reported an annual net loss of $23.2 million, or 16 cents per share. That compares with an operating loss of $36.2 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.

    In the present first quarter of FY 2005, Steelcase expects revenues “slightly higher” than the fourth quarter and the $571.9 million of the first quarter a year ago, which would represent the first quarterly sales increase in three years. The company expects a quarterly after-tax loss of 9 cents per share to 14 cents per share.

    Revenues for FY 2005 should increase over FY 2004, the company said, although an annual net loss is expected, including after-tax restructuring charges of $10 million to $15 million. The net loss, the company said, “is expected to be a significant improvement over fiscal 2004.”

    “I’m extremely proud of Steelcase employees, who have continued to focus on improving profitability in a challenging economic climate, and I’m pleased that we’re now seeing indications that the recession in our industry is abating and we see modest revenue improvement in the coming year,” President and CEO James Hackett said. “We have strategies in place to grow revenue regardless of when the industry rebounds.”      

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