Furniture maker Ethan Allen Interiors (the holding company for Ethan Allen Inc.) has some revolutionary ideas for your home's living room and other areas. Named after the American patriot, the vertically integrated firm boasts about half a dozen US furniture factories, including a couple of saw mills. The company's products include case goods (wood furniture, such as beds, dressers, and tables), upholstery items (sofas, recliners), and accessories (wall decor, lighting). They're sold at some 300 Ethan Allen stores located primarily in the US. About half of its stores are operated by independent dealers who are required to deal exclusively in Ethan Allen products and follow company guidelines.
Ethan Allen runs one of the largest US-based home-furnishing manufacturing operations. About 65% of its products are made in America. The company operates retail shops in the Middle East and Asia, as well as a handful of stores in Canada. The furniture maker is slowly rebounding from several difficult selling seasons. To cut costs and ride out the recession, Ethan Allen has been closing plants in the US, consolidating its US manufacturing operations, and moving its sourcing overseas. As part of this effort, the company consolidated the operations of its case goods facilities in Andover, Maine, and Beecher Falls, Vermont, in a move that eliminated some 320 jobs.
Ethan Allen also is looking to shutter some design center stores and service centers. The company said it had been increasing its focus on in-home design services so that it did not need as many retail design locations. To secure its foothold internationally, Ethan Allen has been expanding its European business.
Mergers and Acquisitions
To support its manufacturing operations in Vermont, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Mexico, the furniture maker in late 2011 acquired its former case goods manufacturing plant in Honduras, which spans some 164,000-sq.-ft.
To its benefit, Ethan Allen's net sales rose some 7% in fiscal 2012 as compared to 2011. The company points to year-over-year growth across both of its wholesale and retail segments for the increase. The retail segment saw an increase from promotional marketing campaigns through its Ethan Allen-operated design centers. With an increase of 8%, its wholesale segment attributes the achievement to a nearly 15% boost in income order rate during the first half of the fiscal year. The company cites a return in consumer spending for the positive wave of revenue. Net income during this reporting period increased 70%, primarily due to the increase in net sales offset by higher operating expenses.
Sales and Marketing
Despite the economic downturn and stalled home building, the furniture maker and retailer has continued to focus on rolling out new product lines and boosting its TV presence to pique the interest of existing and new customers. As a result, the company's marketing efforts have spurred an increase in incoming retail orders. By introducing the American Artisan collection and investing in a timely manner in TV ads, Ethan Allen has been able to head off bigger woes.
Chairman, president, and CEO Farooq Kathwari owns about 14% of Ethan Allen. Royce & Associates LLC holds another 13% stake. – less