ZEELAND, Mich. - Sales for Herman Miller, Inc. in the fourth quarter totaled $577.2 million, a decrease of 0.9 percent from the year-ago quarter. New orders in the fourth quarter of $568.1 million were 6.3 percent below the prior year level.
Last quarter, the company estimated its most recent price increase, which became effective on February 6, 2017, had the effect of accelerating approximately $21 million of orders that would have otherwise been entered in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. On an organic basis, which includes the impact of that order acceleration as well as foreign currency translation and dealer divestitures, net sales in the fourth quarter increased by 2.7%, while orders were essentially flat from the same quarter last fiscal year.
For the full fiscal year, net sales were $2.28 billion, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 0.6%. On an organic basis, net sales increased by 1.4% compared to last fiscal year.
"While order levels across our contract businesses remained mixed this quarter, we were pleased to see continued net sales and order acceleration within our consumer business segment. This growth reflects improved momentum in all areas of this segment and highlights the opportunity we see to leverage growth through our multi-channel business strategy.
"Better than expected gross margins and well-managed operating expenses combined to deliver adjusted earnings per share above the expectations that we provided at the start of the quarter and reflected adjusted earnings growth of 14 percent over the same quarter last year."
At the NeoCon 2017 show in Chicago last month, Herman Miller demonstrated a suite of services and support including Live OS, which it describes as "the first human-centered, enterprise-ready system of connected furnishings to enable the workplace to more deeply engage with people." Sold as a subscription-based service, Live OS includes an app and dashboard to offer data-based insights to help organizations understand employees’ ever-changing needs in the workplace.