MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) ¿ Hooker Furniture Corp. moved to a first-quarter loss Tuesday, hurt by an impairment charge and declining sales.

The furniture maker lost $456,000, or 4 cents per share, for the period ended May 3. That compares with profit of $2.6 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

Quarterly results included an asset impairment charge of $673,000 related to the writedown of its Bradington-Young trade name.

Sales fell 27 percent to $52.1 million from $71 million as the furniture industry continues to struggle due to the ongoing housing downturn and consumer spending pullback.

"We're not satisfied with our results on any level, but realize we are being impacted by the worst economic downturn in anyone's memory," Chairman, Chief Executive and President Paul B. Toms Jr. said in a statement.

Hooker expects the second quarter to be "very challenging," but anticipates business will start to improve marginally in the fall.

"We are actually more confident in an uptick later this year than we were eight weeks ago due to improvements in consumer confidence, solid gains in the stock market and increased housing activity," Toms said.
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