The poster child for the dot-com boom and eventual bust should be pictured sitting on a stylistically hip Herman Miller
The business-furniture specialist likely misses the golden days of Kool-Aid and foosball, now guiding analysts toward the lower end of previous profit projections. Just don't sell this stock, trading at a six-year low, short.
The company hasn't said it will miss its original range, which called for $0.03 to $0.07 a share in earnings on sales of $310 million to $330 million for the February quarter -- just that its fiscal third-quarter results will lean closer to the former range than the latter. And given the soft state of the economy and corporate spending, a bunt single is actually welcome news.
Herman Miller's fiscal Q2 report offers a nugget of hope you won't find in its guidance. While year-over-year net sales fell by 10%, the order backlog shrunk by a mere 1%. In other words, undelivered orders weren't falling off by as much as those filled in Q2. The company is holding up, and anecdotal signs indicate the industry is starting to turn the corner.
This month, Staples
While its financials are way off its fiscal 2001 peak, when it produced $144 million in earnings on $2.2 billion in sales, Herman Miller continues to trim operating overhead. The modest 3% net margins through the first half of fiscal 2003 may not be all that encouraging, but the company is positioned to milk more in profit off the incremental sale than in the past.
In time -- and it's got plenty of time, as it continues to produce earnings and cash flow through this cyclical lull -- shareholders will be rewarded. Can't stand for much longer? Grab a seat. Herman Miller's got plenty.