Steelcase ( SCS - Get Report) said it missed Wall Street's earnings projections for the fourth quarter by a penny, and the company forecast a gloomy year to come. The maker of office furniture said on Monday that it earned $41.2 million, or 27 cents a share, excluding charges. Seven analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting the company to earn 28 cents a share, which represents a decline from $49.7 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $942.4 million from $919.6 million in the same period last year. Steelcase said its sales in the last two months of the quarter were down significantly from the year-ago period because of customer order deferrals and cancellations. "We foresee that a number of factors that negatively affected fiscal 2001 will continue in 2002. These will be further compounded by the general economic uncertainty," the company said in a statement. "We anticipate a challenging year ahead, and even with no further slowing in the domestic or international economy, it is conceivable, given results year to date, that we could experience revenue declines of up to 5% in the first half of fiscal 2002." Steelcase projected earnings for the fiscal year that would be well below Wall Street's expectations. The company said it expects to earn between 40 cents and 50 cents in the first half of the year. Analysts are expecting the company to earn 36 cents in each of the first two quarters. The company said it is expecting an "improved business climate" in the second half of the year and forecast a profit of $1 to $1.15 a share for the full year. The consensus is calling for earnings of $1.43. Shares of Steelcase, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., fell 5 cents, or 0.4%, to $12.75 in recent New York Stock Exchange trading.
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