DANBURY, CT-Home furniture maker and retailer Ethan Allan Interiors Inc. posted an 11% rise in profits during the third quarter as same-store sales grew 15.2% due in large part to a series of initiatives implemented during the last few quarters designed to drive up sales and profits for the Danbury, CT-based company.

Ethan Alan, which operates 311 retail home furnishing stores in the United States and abroad, earned $20 million, or 59 cents per share, for the quarter ending March 31, beating analysts’ estimates of 56 cents per share on revenue of $246.4 million. For the same period in 2005, quarterly results were $17.9 million, or 50 cents per share.

Revenue for the quarter was also up nearly 16% to $267.1 million, from $231.2 million a year ago. For stores open at least a year, sales grew 15.2% over the same quarter last year. The company said it is also “within reach” of meeting analysts’ estimates for the fourth quarter.

A series of initiatives, implemented earlier last year, including the relocation of underperforming stores, quicker home delivery and increased pricing and advertising, have helped the numbers, even though higher fuel delivery charges have cut into profits. To defray some of those rising charges, the company, which opened three new stores during the quarter and 12 during this fiscal year, said it would increase pricing about 2.5%.

“We’ll continue to see positive trends,” predicted the firm’s chairman and chief executive officer Farooq Kathwari in a conference call with investors. Kathwar said increases in both sales and earnings are expected to continue, putting the firm on track to reach analysts estimates for the fourth quarter.

For the nine months ending March 31, 2006, per share earnings totaled $1.85 on net income of $63.3 million. Included in that figure was a $4.2-million restructuring and impairment charge related to the company’s conversion of an existing manufacturing plant into a regional distribution center. Earnings per share for the same period last year was $1.63 based on net income of $59.8 million. Excluding the impact of the restructuring and impairment charge, per-share earnings for the fiscal year-to-date period would be $1.93 on net income of $65.9 million, the company said.

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