ST. LOUIS – Furniture Brands Intl reported third quarter net sales of $293.7 million, a decline of 28.9% from the $412.8 million it recorded in the same period last year.

“Furniture Brands actions during this unprecedented economic downturn have enabled the company to improve its balance sheet and gross margin while creating the opportunity for significant earnings leverage that will enhance financial results as industry fundamentals stabilize and improve,” said Ralph Scozzafava, chairman of the board and CEO. “Our balance sheet continues to improve with a solid cash position and we’ve reduced our debt by nearly $200 million from the third quarter of 2007.”

The company said key elements of its efforts to improve its performance have included more cost-effective raw material and supply procurement, accelerated implementation of lean manufacturing practices, and better management of third-party manufacturing through FBN Asia.
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