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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Focus on boosting revenues

The nation s No. 2 furniture maker said yesterday that sales have been flat for three years but it laid out some plans for bolstering its revenues.

In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, La-Z-Boy Inc. s new president and chief executive said the Michigan company plans to focus on extending its brand name, completing a new look to its stores nationwide, and globalizing its supply chain.

Kurt Darrow, who became head of La-Z-Boy in September, said a new line of furniture by designer Todd Oldham to be in stores early next year should help with sales to buyers age 22 to 32 where the company s products have been a little weak.

La-Z-Boy s brand name is now the most recognizable furniture brand name among home furnishings, Mr. Darrow said.

The target is to become the No. 1 brand in the home. With our strength and retail distribution, that possibility exists.

As for its stores, the firm wants more stores in the nation s top 15 sales markets, he said. It is opening 20 to 25 new ones a year and converting about the same number a year of its 319 stores to its new format of gallery showcases, he added.

As opportunities occur, the company may buy some La-Z-Boy stores from owners who no longer wish to remain in the business or invest in remodeling to the new format, Mr. Darrow said.

With its quarterly earnings report due out Monday, Mr. Darrow explained, the company needs to finds way to boost revenues as it has already downsized its operations and made steps toward better efficiencies.



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