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From Home Furnishing Business

Furniture Brands Reports Sharp Earnings Decline

By Home Furnishings Business in Case Goods on May 2007 Furniture Brands International, St. Louis, reported that its earnings declined by 90 percent to $2.9 million in its first quarter as soft retail conditions led to a 13 percent decrease in sales to $573.7 million.

In a statement, Chairman and CEO Mickey Holliman said the company does not see an improving marketplace in the second quarter. Referring to a recent move to eliminate 250 factory jobs and 80 executive and administrative positions, he said, €œWe will continue to pursue opportunities and reduce costs as we move forward.€

In a conference call Thursday morning, he told investors and analysts the company is in the midst of a strategic planning project and will be releasing the results of that study when it€™s completed in the next few months. Holliman also said he will take a 25 percent pay cut.

The company€™s earnings statement Wednesday also said the company had disclosed in March that it is negotiating a temporary amending to its borrowings with banks and senior note holders.

€œWe are pleased to report that we have completed those negotiations,€ Holliman said. €œThe amendment allows us until the end of June to put in place more permanent financing arrangements. We expect this will be achieved in that time frame.€

Regarding the company€™s second quarter, Holliman expects net sales to be down by about 15 percent versus last year. Net earnings per diluted share are expected to reflect a loss in the range of 11 cents to 7 cents, which includes 2 cents in restructuring, asset impairment and severance charges.

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