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Successful product intros drive Bassett Furniture sales up 21.4%

BASSETT, Va. — A string of successful product introductions helped Bassett Furniture Inds. record a 21.4% sales increase in the quarter ended Nov. 24.

The company said the increase was driven by its Bassett Home Furnishings retail stores and independent Bassett dealers. Wholesale shipments to Bassett stores rose 11%, while shipments to independent dealers jumped 38%, the company said.

Sales at company-owned Bassett retail stores, meanwhile, were up 24%, including a same-store sales increase of 15%.

Total sales for the period - the fourth quarter of Bassett's fiscal year - were $76.8 million, up from $63.3 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company said successful product introductions included the HGTV Design Studios line, which is rolling out to Bassett stores. That line, as well as the HGTV Home line for independent dealers, will be promoted aggressively in 2013, said Rob Spilman, president and CEO.

"We look forward to fully realizing the sales that the investment in this partnership will generate," Spilman said. "We are encouraged by the initial sales results of the HGTV Design Studio. This assortment of custom upholstery was a major driver behind our 15% fourth-quarter comparable-store increase."

The 53 company-owned stores recorded an operating profit of $369,000 in the quarter, reversing an operating loss of $2.07 million in last year's fourth fiscal quarter.

Net income for the quarter, which included a $14.2 million income tax benefit stemming from a reduction of valuation reserves against the company's deferred tax assets, totaled $16.9 million or $1.55 per share. That was up from $633,000 or 6 cents per share in last year's fourth fiscal quarter.

For the year ended Nov. 24, sales totaled $269.7 million, an increase of 6.5% from $253.2 million the previous year.

Net income, including an income tax benefit of $14.7 million, was $26.7 million or $2.41 per share.

In the previous fiscal year, net income was $55.3 million or $4.79 per share. That figure included a gain of $85.5 million on the sale of Bassett's stake on the International Home Furnishings Center.

Bassett ended the fiscal year with 53 company-owned retail stores and 33 licensee-owned stores. Spilman said five to seven company-owned stores will be opened in 2013 and two others will be relocated.

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