Furniture Brands Lowers Forecast on Slow Sales Growth

Furniture Brands International Inc. (FBN), maker of Broyhill and Thomasville furniture, lowered its forecast for third-quarter profit because of slowing sales growth.

Net sales in the quarter will be ``slightly positive,'' and net income will be 9 cents to 13 cents a share, the St. Louis-based company said today in a statement. In July, the company forecast earnings of 18 cents to 22 cents share.

Results from furniture makers have been varying widely, said Laura Champine, analyst at Morgan Keegan & Co. in New York. The analyst rates the stock an ``outperform'' and said she doesn't own it. Champine pointed to Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. (BSET), which announced last week its third-quarter sales would fall, and Haverty Furniture Cos. Inc., which reported today that same-store sales grew 10 percent last month.

She expects most furniture makers to see little growth as fewer Americans buy homes and take out home-equity loans. ``I think we're seeing the cycle top out,'' Champine said.

Marty Richmond, a spokesman for Furniture Brands, didn't immediately return a telephone message.

The shares fell 49 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $18.76 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 4:01 p.m. They have tumbled 16 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael Nol in New York at mnol@bloomberg.net; Zachary R. Mider in New York at zmider1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Aimee Sullivan at asullivan@bloomberg.net.

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