• Cindy W. Hodnett

Mattress segment leads Culp’s numbers

HIGH POINT — Citing a record performance in mattress fabric segment sales, a hospitality upholstery uptick and a year that ended with no debt and $54.2 million in total cash and investments, Frank Saxon, president and chief executive officer of Culp Inc., and Culp company officials say they are optimistic about 2018 following the financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended April 30.

“Our results for the fourth quarter were in line with expectations, capping off an outstanding performance for Culp in fiscal 2017 in spite of a more challenging retail environment for home furnishings,” Saxon said.

Net sales for fiscal 2017 full year were $309.5 million, down 1.1% compared with the prior year, with mattress fabric sales up 2.4%, a record year, and upholstery fabric sales down 6.1% over the prior year. Mattress fabric sales were $190.8 million, up 2.4%, compared with $186.4 million in fiscal 2016. For fiscal 2017, upholstery fabric sales were $118.7 million, down 6.1% compared with $126.4 million in fiscal 2016.

Net income was $22.3 million, or $1.78 per diluted share, compared with net income of $16.9 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, in fiscal 2016.

For the fourth quarter, net sales were $77.4 million, with both mattress fabric sales and upholstery fabric sales relatively flat compared with the fourth quarter last year. Pre-tax income was $7 million, which included approximately $250,000 of plant consolidation expenses, down 2.3% compared with $7.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Net income was $6.2 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $3.6 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, in the prior year period. The company announced a special cash dividend of 21 cents per share and a quarterly cash dividend of 8 cents per share, both payable in July 2017.

Culp officials said the official projection for first quarter fiscal 2018 is for overall sales to be comparable to the previous year’s first quarter. Pre-tax income for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 is expected to be in the range of $7.8 million to $8.4 million.

“We are pleased with Culp’s performance in fiscal 2017 and our ability to execute our strategy in an uncertain market environment,” Saxon said. “While short-term demand trends for home furnishings are difficult to predict, we believe Culp is well positioned in the marketplace, and we look forward to the opportunities before us in fiscal 2018.”

Cindy HodnettCindy W. Hodnett | Upholstery/Style Editor

As the Upholstery/Style Editor for Furniture/Today, I spend my work hours studying the sloping curves of sofa frames, the intricacies of fabric and the nail head trim and button accents that function as jewelry on a piece of upholstery. I research the companies that bring these things together for retailers, and ultimately consumers, and interview industry leaders about their business strategies and where they think furniture is heading in the future. And when traveling, I provide a sneak peek at what I'm seeing, whether at international markets or in High Point or Las Vegas.

I look forward to sharing what I see and I hope you'll feel free to do the same. Email me at chodnett@furnituretoday.com or follow me on Twitter @CynthiaWHodnett.

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