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From Home Furnishing Business

Havertys Reports Flat Q3 Sales, Profits

Havertys (HVT) said third-quarter sales and profits were essentially even with last year’s third quarter as improved gross margins were offset by higher operating costs.

The Atlanta-based retailer said sales edged up 0.8% to $211.1 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, while net income totaled $7.37 million or 34 cents per share. In last year’s third quarter, net income was $7.66 million, which also equaled 34 cents per share.

The company said comparable-store sales were up 1.2%, while the average written ticket rose 3.2%.

Total written sales, which include merchandise sold but not delivered, rose 2.6%.

“Our efforts to control fixed costs continue but were negatively impacted by rising health care benefit expenses, which were $1 million higher in the third quarter compared to the prior year,” said Clarence Smith, chairman, president and CEO. “As expected, opening and ongoing additional overhead expenses were incurred for two new stores and expansion of our Florida distribution center.

“Operating inventory levels have been trimmed as our supply chain team works closely with vendor partners and refines product flow and forecasts,” Smith added.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, sales rose 2% to $601 million. Comparable-store sales were up 1.9%.

Nine-month net income totaled $17.4 million or 79 cents per share. That was down from $18.6 million or 81 cents per share in the first nine months of 2015.

As the fourth quarter began, Smith noted that 23 Havertys stores were closed for one or more days during the Columbus Day holiday weekend due to Hurricane Matthew, but no stores suffered significant physical damage.

“As we move into the important selling months of November and December, we will be executing the merchandising and marketing strategies geared for our target customer and believe we are in a good position to make market share gains,” he said.

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