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Super Bowl -- A Retail Touchdown

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 With the biggest sporting event of the year only a few days away, home furnishings retailers across the country could see an extra boost to their already increased sales thanks to rabid football fans.

BIGresearch, an online market researcher, predicts 800,000 pieces of furniture will be sold this year as consumers prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks to meet in Super Bowl XL.

The company determined the number after conducting a survey for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Foundation, a part of the National Retail Federation.

The estimated figure for economic jolt for furniture retailers is nearly 170,000 higher than those found in their figures for 2005, the group reported.

Last year, 530,000 pieces were sold for those looking to new furniture -- especially home entertainment centers. BIGresearch determined 1.7 million new televisions will be sold to those looking to upgrade before the Super Bowl.

Robb and Stucky Adds Two to Management

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Robb and Stucky announced two new additions to its corporate team this week.

Brian Crowley joins the Fort Myers, Fla.-based high-end retailer as its senior vice president and chief financial officer after his most recent stint with Macy's Central in Atlanta. Crowley brings with him more than 20 years of retail experience with Federated Department Stores.

J. Robert Gould, who recently worked for Wayne Homes by Centex, joins the company as its new vice president of human resources. With 30 years of experience in employee relations, training and development, Gould has worked at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, World Travel BTI and Walt Disney World Co.

Select Comfort Posts Income, Sales Gains

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 Minneapolis-based specialty bedding retailer Select Comfort posted net income of $15.8 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, a 52 percent increase over net income posted in the same period last year.

Sales for the quarter were up 26 percent to $187.9 million, compared to $148.6 million during the same quarter of 2004.

Net income for the year hit $43.8 million compared to $31.6 million during fiscal 2004. Sales for the year totaled $691.1 million, a 24 percent increase compared to $557.6 in the previous year.

The retailer attributed its quarterly sales growth to growing same-store sales, the opening of 40 new Comfort Select stores and 219 partner retail sites, and growth in its Internet and direct marketing sales increases.

"Earnings benefited from the inherent leverage in our vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer business model," said Bill McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer. "In 2006, we believe we will continue to improve operating margins while accelerating our investments in longer term opportunities, expanding our R&D expenditures for new product innovation and investing in technology and physical infrastructure designed to support business expansion, including the first stages of our international expansion."

The company believes that full year 2006 revenues will be at the high end of its long-term growth range of between 15 percent and 20 percent and believes it will exceed its long-term earnings growth rate of between 20 percent and 25 percent.

Plans for this year call for adding between 40 and 45 new stores and remodeling about 30 existing stores. Select Comfort also plans to increase its retail partner program by more than 100 percent and will expand its partnership with Sleep Country Canada.

Stanley Fourth Quarter Earnings Up

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 Stanley Furniture Co. reported fourth quarter earnings rose despite a slight drop in sales as the company was helped by a rise in interest income.

The company posted quarterly profit of $5.8 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with $5.7 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Quarterly sales decreased 2 percent to $81.4 million compared with $83.3 million in for the same period last year.

Sales for the year climbed 9.1 percent to $333.6 million, and net income for the year ended Dec. 31 hit $23.2 million compared to $20.8 million in the year before.

A rise in interest income and a fall in interest expense, along with a decrease in income taxes, helped boost the company's bottom line.

Looking to the first quarter of 2006, the company said it anticipates sales to range between $81 million to $84 million. Stanley Furniture also said it expects earnings per share to range between 43 cents and 46 cents.

"We enter 2006 cautiously, mindful of an uncertain demand environment yet confident in our ability to continue to gain market share and anticipate another good year," said Jeffrey Scheffer, chief executive officer.

Elway Sends Recliner to Taunted Fan

By Home Furnishings Business in on January 2006 A high school student, harassed two weeks ago for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey to his Pittsburgh-area school, will be watching the Super Bowl in style this year.

According the Associated Press, John Elway, NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback and Former Denver Bronco, sent 17-year-old Joshua Vannoy a signed reclining massage chair from his Elway Home furniture line with Bassett Furniture.

Vannoy gained national attention earlier this month after a teacher forced him to take a test on the floor of his classroom for wearing an Elway Broncos football shirt to school days before the two football teams met in the AFC Championship Game.
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