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http://www.fool.com/News/mft/2006/mft06042128.htm?ref=btp

Foolish Forecast: Ethan Allen Pulls Up a Chair
By Rich Smith (TMFDitty)
April 21, 2006

In the wake of Stanley Furniture's (Nasdaq: STLY) disappointing earnings report earlier this week, investors in the home-furnishing sphere once again look to Ethan Allen (NYSE: ETH) for comfort. Ethan Allen reports its own Q3 2006 earnings report Monday morning.

What analysts say:

Buy, sell, or waffle? Nine analysts follow Ethan Allen. Of these, three rate the stock a buy, five a hold, and one a sell.
Revenues. Analysts expect to see quarterly sales rise 7% to $236.4 million.
Earnings. Profits are believed to have risen nearly twice as fast, with Wall Street hoping for a 12% rise to $0.56 per share......
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Is it just me, or did Farooq Kathwari have his tongue stuck really far into his cheek in this morning's third quarter earnings release when he said he felt the analyst estiminates for the company's June fourth quarter are "within reach"?

What a boomer quarter they just reported!

Sales up 15.5% to $267M. This was $20M or 8% above the analysts' consensus estimate, and a full $16M or 6.3% above the highest analyst estimate for the quarter of $251M.

Gross profit? Up 21.6% from a year ago, to 50.5% of sales (vs. 47.8% a year ago).

Increases in "...selected raw materials, fuel, utilities, and health insurance..." costs? Yes, like everyone else in the industry. As a result, operating profit for the quarter was up "only" 13.8% and the operating margin slipped to 12.5% from 12.7% a year earlier.

A higher effective tax rate this year? Yes: 37.5%, down from 38.7% in fiscal 2005, so net income for the quarter was only up 11.5%.

But what about the 2.1 million [net] shares the company repurchased vis-a-vis last year? Well, that resulted in the final diluted per share earnings for the quarter rising about 18% to $0.59, vs. the analysts' high and consensus estimate for the quarter of $0.57 and $0.56, respectively.

So do I think the analysts' June quarter estimates ($257M in sales and $0.63 EPS) are 'within reach'? That would be a definite 'yes'.
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Note to Farooq: Either give yourself a heckuva big bonus, or take a nice vacation... you've definitely earned both in my view.
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Is it just me, or did Farooq Kathwari have his tongue stuck really far into his cheek in this morning's third quarter earnings release when he said he felt the analyst estimates for the company's June fourth quarter are "within reach"?

Farooq has a sense of humor, and he's no dummy. He represents the brand image well: Conservative, reliable, steadfast...and if he's going to surprise you, it's usually a pleasant surprise.

I met him a few times in Danbury. Not that truck drivers were often invited to the executive suite, but there was a decided respect for the rank-and-file and crafts that contributed to the company's success, and many of us were rewarded with a yearly shindig at HQ. His longevity is a testament to the smart decision Interco made long ago to appoint him President/CEO (and it's also a testament to Nathan Ancell's continuing input and guidance until his death.)

Richard
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Hi, Richard.

I loved it on the conference call today when, in answer to a question about why they hadn't repurchased any stock during the third quarter, Farooq said "there's really no good reason I can give you... but we still have the money in the bank."
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