Economy, competition hit Kimball profit

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The slowing economy and rising competition drove down overall profit for Kimball International Inc. in its second fiscal quarter.

The Jasper furniture and electronics maker reported today that profit fell 41 percent in the period ended Dec. 31, to $4.2 million.

The weakening economy prompted companies to cut back purchases of new furniture and office expansions that might have required additional furniture, said spokesman Marty Vaught. Bidding also became more competitive.

Tougher competition also drove down margins in Kimball’s electronics segment.

Kimball’s electronics segment has diversified into medical, industrial and other markets to avoid relying on sales to domestic car manufacturers, but now the newer markets are becoming hyper competitive, too, Vaught said.

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