Furniture retailer La-Z-Boy ( LZB) said Friday it expects sluggish sales and higher expenses to result in lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

The manufacturer and distributor of reclining chairs and upholstered furniture said it now sees third-quarter earnings of 25 cents to 31 cents a share, down from 41 cents a share earned in the same period last year. This range falls sharply below the seven-analyst estimate of 40 cents a share, according to a poll by First Call/Thomson Financial.

The Monroe, Mich., company did not provide any figures for sales, but said it sees third-quarter sales "below earlier anticipated levels," amid weak consumer demand for furniture during the Thanksgiving season. La-Z-Boy said "the possibility of severe winter weather conditions during January" adds an additional layer of uncertainty. The company plans to report third-quarter results after market close on Feb.7, 2001.

Shares of La-Z-Boy closed at $15.13 in trading on the Big Board Thursday. The shares have a 52-week low of $13 and a 52-week high of $18.50.