Herman Miller: Trade war could force manufacturing move
The brewing trade war between the U.S. and its major trading partners may lead furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. to relocate some of its manufacturing if costs become prohibitive, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stutz said.
“We are obviously feeling the effects of tariffs that are putting pressure on our business as it stands today and have been all fiscal year,” Stutz said Tuesday in a phone interview.
The creator of the ubiquitous office chair has plants in the U.S. and abroad, including China and the U.K. While the company has no concrete plans at this time, it could shift some manufacturing to other countries or find third-party companies in those regions to make products for them, Stutz said. He didn’t specify which factories could be moved.
Chief Executive Officer Brian Walker said the company is keeping an eye on U.S. actions related to tariffs and responses from other countries.
“As a result, we are proactively developing and continue to refine contingency plans,” Walker said Tuesday on an earnings conference call with analysts. He didn’t elaborate.
The Zeeland, Michigan-based furniture company surged on Tuesday, a day after posting fiscal fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates. The shares climbed as much as 16 percent to $40.10 in New York, the biggest intraday gain since March 2009. The stock had declined 14 percent this year through Monday’s close.