Brian Walker, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Strong net sales and order growth were a clear highlight of our results this quarter as we finished the fiscal year setting all-time records for quarterly and annual sales for our company”
Herman Miller reported net earnings of $0.53 per share on a diluted basis in the fourth quarter compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.55 in the same quarter last fiscal year. Exclud- ing the impact of restructur- ing expenses and other special charges recognized in the period, adjusted earnings per share in the fourth quarter totaled $0.66 compared to adjusted earnings per share of $0.64 in the fourth quarter of last fiscal year.
For the full fiscal year, net sales were $2,381.2 million, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 4.5%. On an organic basis, net sales increased by 6.5% compared to last fiscal year. Diluted earnings per share for the full year totaled $2.12 compared to $2.05 last year. On an adjusted basis, diluted earnings per share totaled $2.30 in fiscal 2018 compared to $2.16 in fiscal 2017.
The company also announced an increase in its quarterly cash dividend to $0.1975 per share payable in October 2018. This change represents an increase of 10% from the previous dividend payout of $0.18 per share.
10% increase in quarterly dividend pay-out
Brian Walker, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Strong net sales and order growth were a clear highlight of our results this quarter as we finished the fis- cal year setting all-time records for quarterly and annual sales for our Company. Order growth for the quarter was broad-based across all of our business seg- ments. As a result of our strong financial position, the Board of Directors approved a 10% increase in our quarterly dividend payout – an action that reflects the confidence of the Board and our leadership team in the power of our long-term strategy. These results are a tribute to the talent and effort of our people and they demonstrate the meaningful progress we have made on our strategic priorities.”
Mr. Walker added, “We are very excited to add Maars Living Walls and HAY to our collection of leading brands with the equity and licensing investments that we announced in June. The investments directly support our strategic priorities. Maars significantly enhances our dealer eco-system initiative with their industry leading designs and performance capabilities in the fast-growing moveable wall category.
The investments in HAY immediately impact our focus on scaling the Consumer business given their deep catalog and renowned reputation as a design leader of furniture and lifestyle accessories at accessible price points. These additions to the Herman Miller family of brands serve our ultimate goal of expanding the size of the addressable markets we serve, and add fuel to our effort to leverage our global multi-channel distribution capability.”
Facility consolidation actions in Chinese facilities affect gross margin
Consolidated gross margin in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 totaled 36.9%, representing a 140 basis point decrease from the level reported in the same quarter of last fiscal year. Cost of Sales in the current year include special charges totaling $1.5 million related to increased freight and distribution costs directly resulting from previously announced facility consolidation actions in the Company’s Chinese manufacturing operations.
Operating expenses in the current year fourth quarter were $184.3 million compared to $162.3 million in the same quarter a year ago. Operating expenses included special charges totaling $6.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.
Jeff Stutz, Chief Financial Officer, noted, “We are particularly encouraged by the results of our Consumer business this quarter. Strong year-over-year growth in segment operating margins was driven by a record level of quarterly revenue and the initial realization benefits from our profit optimization efforts. On a consolidated basis, adjusted earnings for the quarter exceeded the expectations that we estab- lished in March, driven mainly by above-forecast sales volumes and a lower effective tax rate. In our view, the overall macro-economic backdrop for our business is supportive for continued growth, although inflationary pressures remain an outlook risk for the business. With that said, our strategic focus on profit optimization is yielding benefit, and we are further expanding this work with the goal of offsetting these pressures and delivering on our long-term profitability goals.”
New revenue recognition standard
Looking forward, Herman Miller expects net sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 to be in the range of $610 million to $630 million. This forecast includes the impact of adopting the new revenue recognition standard (ASC 606) at the beginning of fiscal 2019. This adoption results in recording certain product pricing elements as expenses within cost of goods sold going forward that were previously classified on a net basis within sales, effectively increasing revenues when compared to reported net sales in fiscal 2018.
On an organic basis, adjusted for the adoption of the new revenue recognition standard, which would have increased prior year sales by approximately $7 million, as well as the impact of a dealer divestiture, this forecast implies organic sales growth of 6% compared to the first quarter of the prior year at the mid-point of the range. Diluted earnings per share in the quarter are expected to range from $0.63 to $0.67 per share. BoF
Herman Miller Monday announced results for its fourth quarter ended June 2, 2018. Net sales in the quarter totaled $618.0 million, an increase of 7.1% from the same quarter last fiscal year. New orders in the fourth quarter of $620.8 million were 9.3% above the prior year level.