Hooker Q1 Net Jumps on Higher Sales

Hooker FurnitureMARTINSVILLE, Va.-Rising sales, especially in the casegoods segment, propelled Hooker Furniture to a robust 31.9 percent gain in first-quarter net income, which totaled $2.8 million.

Total net sales in the quarter, which ended on May 4, increased 9.1 percent to $61.4 million. Casegoods sales were up 10.1 percent, the result if increased unit volume measured against essentially flat average selling prices. Upholstery sales picked up 7.3 percent in the quarter.

Paul Toms, Hooker’s chairman and CEO, said, “We’re gratified to see casegoods growing again. While upholstery sales have grown faster than casegoods sales over the last few years, we’re seeing indications of a recovery in casegoods sales and improved retailer ability to sell large-ticket bedroom, dining and home-office furniture.”

The strong sales performance also helped improve gross margin, which gained 71 basis points to finish the quarter at 25.4 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 6.4 percent in dollars but shed 47 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 18.5 percent.

The outlook for further into the fiscal year will be challenging, Toms said. “While we are positioned very well internally, we’re concerned about the retail demand environment, and a little less bullish than earlier in the year due to a slower housing market, inconsistency at retail and an economy not as robust as expected,” he said. “However, as we head into the summer months, we expect to capitalize on any improvements in external conditions with our good inventory position on best sellers, strong product line, progress in our upholstery segment and success with our new business initiatives.”