* Q3 EPS $0.12 vs year-ago loss $0.10/shr
* New orders up 3.8 percent
* Shares down 5 pct after market (Adds comparison to analyst estimates, share movement)
March 17 (Reuters) - Office furniture maker Herman Miller Inc (MLHR.O) posted a third-quarter profit that missed analyst expectations, but said new orders improved after five consecutive quarters of decline.
New orders in the quarter were $290 million, 3.8 percent higher from a year-ago period.
"While overall industry conditions remain challenging, this serves as a measurable signal that business conditions have stopped deteriorating," said Brian Walker, chief executive officer of the company.
Demand for office furniture has taken a hit due to high office vacancies and corporate downsizing as firms cut costs to weather the downturn.
For the third quarter, the company's net income was $8.3 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $5.2 million, or 10 cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding items, it earned 15 cents a share.
Revenue fell 7 percent to $329.6 million.
Analysts were expecting earnings of 18 cents a share on revenue of $334.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Margins improved 190 basis points to 31.8 percent during the period.
Shares of the company were trading at $19.05 after the bell. They closed at $20.07 Wednesday on Nasdaq. They have risen about 13 percent in the last one month. (Reporting by A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)