Hooker Furniture Reports Fifth Consecutive Quarter Of Increased Sales

Martinsville, Va., Dec. 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hooker Furniture (Nasdaq:HOFT) today reported net sales of $59.1 million and net income of $2.1 million, or $0.20 per share, for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended November 3, 2013. Sales increased $2.3 million, or 4.1%, while net income decreased $317,000, or 13.0%, compared to last year's third quarter. Earnings per share decreased to $0.20 from $0.23 in the comparable period a year ago.

For the fiscal 2014 first nine months, net sales increased 7.6%, or $12 million, to $170.7 million, and net income increased 20.3%, or $1 million, to $5.9 million, or $0.55 per share, compared to $0.46 in the prior-year period.

"We're pleased with our year-to-date sales performance and the strength of incoming orders and backlogs as we enter a historically strong retail furniture-selling season," said Paul B. Toms Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. "This was one of our strongest shipping quarters in the last five years, and demand is up for both casegoods and upholstery compared to a year ago," he said. "We had our second largest shipping quarter in five years, exceeded only slightly by last year's fourth quarter, which had an extra week. Our written business at the October High Point Market was the best in the last three years," he added.

The net sales gain for the third quarter was driven by higher average selling prices in both casegoods and upholstery due to changes in product mix. For the nine months, sales increases were also driven by higher average selling prices in both operating segments, along with increased unit volume in the upholstery segment.

Toms attributed the decline in net income for the fiscal 2014 third quarter to previously announced increased discounting in casegoods to dispose of slow-moving casegoods inventory, start-up costs for the new H Contract and Homeware brands and production ramp-up costs at Sam Moore. "Our casegoods inventories are still above targeted levels, and we've had higher discounts, primarily related to groups and product lines we are discontinuing. With Homeware and H Contract, we anticipated start-up costs and spending would come before revenues on both these long-term strategic initiatives. Our profitability challenges at Sam Moore revolve around the ramp-up of production and higher labor costs to meet demand that's increased 15% to 20% per year during the last two-and-a-half years," he said.

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