ZEELAND, MI – Herman Miller Inc. reported results for its first quarter of fiscal year 2009. Operating earnings improved to 11.8% of sales compared to the prior year period’s 10.9%. Sales declined 2.6% from the prior year, primarily from softness in the U.S. office furniture market, although orders increased 10.6%.

Sales for the quarter were $479.1 million. North American sales were $395.9 million, reflecting a 2.6% decrease from the same period in the prior year, and non-North American sales for the quarter were $70.1 million, reflecting a 4.5% decrease from the prior year. Orders for the quarter were $535.2 million, an increase of 10.6% from a year ago, with North American orders increasing 8.9% and non-North American orders up 9.6% over the same period a year ago.

Brian Walker, CEO, said, “We had the foresight last year to realign our resources in preparation for the potential of rough waters ahead. As a result of those actions, we were able to continue to deliver solid financial results to our shareholders despite the challenges of softening demand in the U.S. and dramatic increases in commodity costs. We also continue to make excellent progress on our strategic initiatives to diversify and transform our business into a global company centered on performance innovation.”

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