Berkshire retail earnings fall, but Star, NFM report gains
April 5, 2010,
In his annual letter to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett gives a nod to Nebraska Furniture Mart leaders Irv and Ron Blumkin and Star Furniture CEO Bill Kimbrell for increasing profits last year even as sales declined in a tough economic environment.
For the fourth quarter, net earnings for the corporate giant rose to $3.06 billion from $117 million for the same period a year ago, with the 2008 quarter reflecting investment and derivatives losses of about $3.5 billion.
For the year, earnings increased 61.3% to $8.06 billion from nearly $5 billion in 2008.
However, net income from the businesses under its manufacturing, service and retailing operations — which includes Berkshire's furniture division — declined 51.2% to $1.1 billion from $2.3 billion in 2008. Revenues in the segment fell 6.7% to $61.7 billion.
Among Berkshire's home furnishing holdings are Omaha, Neb.-based Nebraska Furniture Mart and its Homemakers Furniture division in Iowa; Salt Lake City-based R.C. Willey; Houston-based Star; and Taunton, Mass.-based Jordan's Furniture.
“Almost all of the many and widely diverse operations in this (manufacturing, service and retailing) sector suffered to one degree or another from 2009's severe recession,” Buffett said. One exception was groceries, confections and non-food items distributor McLane.
Nebraska's Blumkins and Star's Kimbrell were named with seven other CEOs as leaders in this sector who managed to increase profits as sales contracted, “always an exceptional managerial achievement,” he said.
The other Berkshire companies whose leaders were noted for their performance were Benjamin Moore (paint), Borsheims (jewelry), H.H. Brown (shoes), CTB (agricultural equipment), Dairy Queen, Pampered Chef (direct sales of kitchen tools), and See's (candy).
Most Viewed Articles
Related Content By Author
From the desks of Furniture Today's editors ...
RSA Insights & Intelligence
RSA Insights & Intelligence gives you, the retail sales associates, critical intelligence and insights. We make it easier for you to sell by providing actionable tips and key takeaways you can and should use for every sale. Check out our latest two articles:
* One tip that will get customers to leave reviews
* Why buying online is harder than consumers think
Furniture Factory 4.0
If you missed our recent webcast with Lectra on what the furniture factory of the future will look like, then you can click here to watch the recorded version. Topics include what trends and challenges are affecting furniture factories in the US & Worldwide and how these challenges are changing furniture production.