What happened

Shares of Herman Miller (MLKN -0.60%) stock are up 16.3% as of 11:45 a.m. EDT after the furniture maker eclipsed analyst estimates for its fourth and final quarter to fiscal year 2019.

Expected to earn $0.77 per share on sales of $657.2 million in the quarter, Herman Miller instead reported $671 million in sales -- and a per-share profit of $0.78.

Stacks of coins with an overlay of a stock chart trending up

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Now, a penny-a-share "earnings beat" may not sound like much, but consider how much better Herman Miller did this past quarter than in the year-ago Q4. Sales grew 9% year over year and set a new quarterly record for the company. Profit jumped 47% compared to the $0.53 per share Herman Miller earned a year ago.

As a result, Herman Miller ended the year with sales up 8% ($2.6 billion) and profit up 27% ($2.70 per share for the year).

Now what

CEO Andi Owen commented that Herman Miller is enjoying "strong demand," with sales and earnings growth accelerating and new orders growing 7% in the quarter. Heading into fiscal Q1 2020, management predicts Herman Miller will grow sales to somewhere between $650 million and $670 million, and earn between $0.77 and $0.81 per share on these sales.

Seeing as Wall Street is only looking for sales of $651 million, and $0.76 per share in profits, it looks like Herman Miller fully intends to "beat earnings" again.