• Clint Engel

Furniture helps drive 27% profit in Berkshire's retailing business

OMAHA, Neb. — Berkshire Hathaway reported a 1% decrease in second quarter revenues at its retailing business segment and a double-digit jump in pre-tax profit as furniture helped offset lower revenues at the corporation’s auto dealerships.

Retailing business revenues decreased 1.3% to $3.76 billion in quarter ended June 30, from $3.81 billion for the same period a year ago. Pre-tax earnings for the segment increased 26.7% to $204 million from $161 million in the second quarter last year.

Through the first half in retailing, revenues decreased 1.4% to $7.23 billion and pre-tax earnings increased 29.6% to $337 million.

Berkshire’s retailing segment includes the Top 100 Berkshire Hathaway furniture division’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, R.C. Willey, Star Furniture and Jordan’s; Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, which includes 83 auto dealers; three jewelry chains; See’s Candies; Pampered Chef; and other businesses.

In the quarterly report, Berkshire said the decrease in retailing revenues was due primarily to lower revenues at its automotive business, “partly offset by increases in revenues of our home furnishings retailers, Pampered Chef and See’s Candies.”

The jump in pre-tax earnings reflected higher earnings for Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, the home furnishings retailers, Pampered Chef and See’s Candies. The furniture division earnings increases were due to increased gross margins “and relatively lower operating expenses,” Berkshire said.

Berkshire’s overall revenues for the second quarter increased 6% to $57.52 billion, while net earnings attributable to shareholders declined 14.7% to $4.26 billion.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

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