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  • Larry Thomas

Leggett & Platt Q3 sales drop 2.1%, earnings rise 8.4%

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Furniture and bedding components supplier Leggett & Platt said third-quarter sales slipped 2.1% as many of its operating units reported sluggish activity.

Sales in the company's residential furnishings segment, however, rose 5.6% on higher unit volumes and raw material-related price increases in its carpet underlay business.

Earnings increased 8.4%, but that was due largely to a one-time accounting benefit from its recent acquisition of an aerospace tubing manufacturer in France.

Worldwide sales for the quarter totaled $957.7 million, down from $978.1 million in last year's third quarter.

That most recent total included residential furnishings segment sales of $508.6 million. That was up from $481.7 million in the same quarter last year.

Net earnings totaled $71.3 million, or 49 cents per share, which included 6 cents per share for the accounting benefit. That was up from $65.8 million, or 45 cents per share, in last year's third quarter.

"In general, the third quarter remained sluggish as companies and consumes wrestled with the effects of continuing governmental gridlock and its associated uncertainty," said David Haffner, CEO. "Even so, we are pleased with the progress made in many of our operating units.

"Our sales decline primarily reflects the non-recurrence, as expected, of one major retailer's large store fixtures programs that were concentrated in the third quarter last year. This was primarily offset by sales gains in the automotive and carpet underlay business units."

Haffner said the company is projecting 2013 sales to be about $3.75 billion, at the low end of its earlier projection of $3.75 billion to $3.85 billion.

Full-year earnings from continuing operations are now projected at $1.50 to $1.55 per share, excluding the third-quarter accounting benefit. That's at the low end of the company's earlier projection of $1.50 to $1.65 per share.

For the first nine months of 2013, sales totaled $2.849 billion, down slightly from $2.856 billion in the first nine months of 2012.

Nine-month earnings totaled $191.7 million, or $1.30 per share. That is an increase of 9.7% from $174.7 million, or $1.20 per share, in the same period last year.


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