La-Z-Boy Profit Beats Forecast

Upholstered furniture maker La-Z-Boy Inc. (LZB) Tuesday said third-quarter profit slid from a year ago, but exceeded its forecast as sales improved.

Earnings fell to 21 cents a share from 29 cents a share a year earlier. Net sales rose to $518 million from $492 million.

In November, the company forecast earnings in the range of 11 cents to 14 cents a share, citing soft demand and rising raw material costs.

La-Z-Boy, known for its recliners, said sales in its upholstery segment increased 2 percent from a year earlier, but margins were hurt by rising prices of steel poly and plywood.

The U.S. residential furniture (search) industry has struggled this past year with the triple blow of rising costs, competition from cheaper imports and a hesitancy among consumers to make big-ticket purchases.

Sales in its casegoods segment increased 3.7 percent from a year earlier due to strong demand for hospitality products, the company said.

Earnings were also impacted by a 3 cent per share restructuring charge, it said.

The Monroe, Mich. company, forecast fourth quarter earnings in the range of 26 cents to 30 cents a share, including 3 cents in charges. Analysts, on average, expected the company to earn 29 cents a share in the fourth quarter.