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Hooker Furniture rebounds to profit on improved margins, lower costs

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Hooker Furniture recorded a profit of $628,000 in its fiscal fourth quarter, reversing a net loss from last year's fourth quarter despite a 1.1% drop in sales.

The company said the bottom line was aided by improved margins in its upholstery division and decreased selling and administrative expenses.

The profit for the quarter ended Jan. 29, which equals 6 cents per share, compares with a loss of $182,000 or 2 cents per share in the comparable quarter a year ago. The most recent quarter included a $1.1 million after-tax asset impairment charge to write down the value of the company's Bradington-Young trade name.

Sales totaled $54.36 million, down from $55 million in last year's fiscal fourth quarter.

Results for the fiscal year were even better than the fourth quarter. The company sale sales rose 3.3% and profits were up more than 50%.

"All things considered, we had a very good year," said Paul Toms Jr., chairman and CEO. "As the year moved forward, we reduced excess inventory, improved our cash flow and cut operating losses in our upholstery division substantially."

Toms said the company's case goods and upholstery divisions each recorded sales increases of slightly more than 3%. Within the upholstery division, Bradington-Young's imported leather sales were up about 9.4%, but shipments of its domestically produced line fell 7%.

Shipments of Sam Moore's domestically produced custom upholstery line, meanwhile, rose about 13.6%.

Total sales for the year were $222.5 million, up from $215.4 million the previous fiscal year.

Net income was $5.06 million or 47 cents per share. That was up from $3.24 million or 30 cents per share the previous year.

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