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Herman Miller, a leading U.S. office furniture manufacturer, reported Q3 (ended Mar. 3) net income climbed 44.2% to $32.3 million, or $0.50/share (+51.5%), on a 14.3% increase in sales to $484.8m. Analysts however, expected $0.52/share on sales of $491m. Herman Miller offered Q4 EPS guidance of $0.47 - $0.51, on sales of $485m - $505m, compared to analysts' average estimate of $0.52 on sales of $500m. Herman-Miller-MLHR-chart-03-20-07 Orders grew 15.2% to $457.9m in the quarter and it recorded its highest ever Q3 backlog, up 23.4% to $297.1m. CFO Beth Nickels commented on the challenging nature of Q3 due to holidays and uneven production schedules, and especially this year because production was started in China. However, she also noted "commodity markets appear to have leveled off," which in addition to its recently announced price increases should be beneficial to future earnings. Herman Miller's shares gained 1.61% to $37.84 in normal trading, but lost 6.9% to $35.23 on volume of about 170,000 shares, in after-hours activity.

Sources: Press release, Reuters
Commentary: Herman Miller's Earnings Results - A Contrarian Indicator? [Sept. '06]
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Herman Miller (NASDAQ:MLHR). Competitors: HNI Corp (NYSE:HNI), Steelcase (NYSE:SCS)

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Source: Herman Miller's Earnings Jump, But Miss Estimates, Shares Trade Lower