Muscatine-based office furniture maker HNI Corp. announced Thursday that it earned $4.8 million in net income, or 11 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter, which ended April 1. 

Earnings compared to $11.8 million in the first quarter a year ago.

HNI, whose brands include HON and Allsteel, reported $477.7 million in consolidated net sales for the quarter. That was a decline of $23.4 million, or 4.7 percent, from a year ago.

Results included $6.3 million of restructuring costs and $3.8 million of transition costs.

"First quarter results were better than expected,'' HNI Chairman, President and CEO Stan Askren said in a news release. "Our businesses continue to compete well and generated sales at the high end of our anticipated range."

Net sales in HNI's office furniture sector decreased $27.4 million, or 7.1 percent, to $360.0 million with decreases in the supplies, North American contract and international businesses. 

Its hearth division saw sales increase $4.0 million, or 3.5 percent, to $177.7 million with increases in the new construction, retail wood/gas and retail pellet businesses.

Askren said the company remains confident in its strategies as its markets continue to improve. "We continue to streamline our core businesses while significantly investing for long-term profitable growth."

HNI estimates full-year earnings will range from $2.80 to $3.10 a share.

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