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Furniture Brands International posts $22.9 million quarterly loss as sales rise 3.3%

ST. LOUIS — Furniture Brands International said sales rose 3.3% in the fourth quarter, but the company's net loss widened to $22.9 million.

The sales increase included a 5.6% jump in sales at its 48 company-owned Thomasville retail stores.

Net sales for the company, whose brands include Thomasville, Lane, Broyhill, Drexel Heritage and Henredon, totaled $264 million for the quarter ended Dec. 29. That compares with $255.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The Thomasville stores had sales of $27.5 million, up from $26 million in the comparable quarter. The stores, however, recorded an operating loss of $4.24 million. In the previous year's fourth quarter, the operating loss totaled $4.1 million.

The company net loss, which equals 41 cents per share, compares with a loss of $9.5 million, or 17 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The most recent quarter includes an after-tax charge of $10.8 million for asset impairment and cost reduction activities. Those charges were partially offset by the reversal of a $2.4 valuation allowance on deferred tax assets.

"Much work remains to be done in order to make progress driving profitable sales growth," said Ralph Scozzafava, chairman and CEO. "In 2012, we ramped up production in our Mexico and Indonesia facilities and started our Broyhill case goods mixing program, all of which enable us to reduce our costs and participate more in the high-volume, lower price-point segments of the market."

"We also increased our mix of transitional and updated products to broaden our style appeal, and we improved service to our dealers with our Broyhill case goods mixing program and Lane and Broyhill quick-ship programs," he added.

For the year ended Dec. 29, net sales decreased 3.2% from the previous year to $1.07 billion. Sales at the Thomasville stores totaled $105.5 million, down 2.8% from $108.5 million in 2011.

The net loss for the year totaled $47.3 million or 86 cents per share. That compares with a net loss of $43.8 million or 80 cents per share in 2011.

The most recent year included after-tax charges of $18.3 million for asset impairment, environmental charges and cost reduction activities, while 2011 included similar after-tax charges of $10.9 million.

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