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Havertys' earnings jump more than 40% on strong sales

4Q sales up 7.6% with comparable stores up 9.5%

ATLANTA — Havertys said its fourth-quarter sales rose 7.6% and profits rose more than 40% as the retailer continued to focus on higher-margin, fashionable products.

The Atlanta-based company said comparable-store sales jumped 9.5% in the quarter while the average ticket rose 5.7%.

Net sales totaled $196.2 million, up from $182.3 million in the previous year's fourth quarter.

Net income was $9.68 million or 42 cents per share. That was up 42.7% from $6.78 million or 30 cents per share in the final quarter of 2012.

Results were similar for the 2013 calendar year, as sales increased 11.3% to $746.1 million and comparable-store sales jumped 11%.

Net income for the year was $32.3 million or $1.41 per share. In 2012, net income was $14.9 million or 67 cents per share.

Clarence Smith, Havertys chairman, president and CEO, described 2013 as "a continuation of the turnaround that we truly began in 2011."

"Many aspects of our business have been fine-tuned to enhance our customer's perception of Havertys and her purchasing experience," Smith said. "We have improved our stores and highlighted our fashion identity in our advertising and our merchandise. The ‘on trend' customer's response has been favorable."

He said gross margins increased 1.2 percentage points to 53.7% for the year as the company concentrated on goods at higher price points and used promotional markdowns sparingly.

The retailer didn't provide sales and earnings projections for 2014, but noted that comparable-store written business is up 3.6% thus far in the first quarter.

"We plan to continue to highlight our fashionable quality merchandise in 2014 and use promotional pricing judiciously," said Smith.

The retailer said it plans to open three new stores in existing markets and relocate three others during the year. In addition, one major store expansion is in the works, and two stores will be closed when their leases expire.

The changes would leave Havertys with 120 stores, one more than it has now.

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