NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Herman Miller (MLHR - Get Report) jumped in late trades on Wednesday after the Zeeland, Mich.-based designer furniture maker trounced Wall Street's expectations for its fiscal first-quarter profit.
The company said it earned $24.6 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $458.1 million, up more than 20% year-over-year, in the 14 weeks ended Sept. 3. The per-share profit was a dime ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for earnings of 32 cents a share in the period on sales of $444.7 million.
The stock was last quoted at $18, up 12%, on volume of nearly 24,000, according to Nasdaq.com. The shares fell 6% in Wednesday's regular session, and are down nearly 30% so far in 2011.
"Despite ongoing volatility in the financial markets and a cautious pace in the broader economy, our business has shown remarkable resilience," said Brian Walker, the company's chief executive officer, in a statement. "Together with the many improvements we've made in the business over the past year, our performance this quarter gives us confidence that we are well positioned to face the opportunities and challenges ahead."Herman Miller attributed the outperformance in the latest quarter to a strong gross margin of 33.7%, up 120 basis points from last year, as it instituted a price increase in May and was able to leverage higher production levels, offsetting increased commodity costs.