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Furniture Brands International's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Forward-looking statements made today are as of the date of this call; we do not undertake any obligation to update our forward-looking statements. We do not have a copy of today’s press release and may obtain one along with copies of prior press releases and past SEC filings. I linked it through to the Investor Relations page of our website on FurnitureBrands.com.

Now onto our financial results. As reported in this morning’s press release total sales were 287.3 million for the first quarter, decrease of 3.6% from the same period last year. Gross profit for the first quarter 2012 was 71.4 million and gross margin was 24.9% as compared to 77.5 million in gross profit, and 26% gross margin in the first quarter of last year.

The year-over-year change in gross margin was primarily due to new product rollout and clearance of older inventory partially offset by higher retail margin and lower expenses resulting from prior restructuring activities.

SG&A expenses totaled 70 million for the first quarter compared to 79.6 million first quarter of last year. A decrease in first quarter SG&A was primarily due to lower expenses is all in from prior restructuring activities and lower non-working marketing spend.

SG&A for the quarter was below our previous guidance range of 73 million to 77 million as a result of timing of certain marketing and benefits costs. For the remaining quarters of 2012, we expect SG&A to track towards the lower end of this 73 to 77 million (inaudible).

On the retail side of our business, sales of the 44 Thomasville stores that we have operated for more than 15 months or even with the first quarter of 2011, following a 17% same-store sales increase in the first quarter of 2011.

Retail sales at the 64 company owned stores and showrooms were 35.5 million in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to 39 million in the first quarter of 2011. The company owned stores and show rooms numbered 65. Our retail operating loss for open stores improved to 4 million from 6.2 million loss reported in the first quarter of 2011, driven by reduced year-on-year inventory clearance activity and lower SG&A cost.

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