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From Home Furnishing Business

Havertys Finishes 2016 with Double-Digit Q4 Profit Jump

Atlanta-based retailer Havertys (NYSE: HVT) ended 2016 on a high note, recording a 19.2% jump in fourth-quarter net income on 2.2% sales increase.

Net sales for the quarter totaled $220.6 million, up from $215.9 million in the final quarter of 2015. Net income was $10.9 million or 51 cents per share. That was up from $9.18 million or 41 cents per share in the comparable quarter.

The retailer said same-store sales rose 2.5% in the quarter, while written comparable store sales, which include merchandise sold but not delivered, rose 5.2%.

“We are pleased with our strong finish to the quarter.  Gaining greater productivity from our existing store base is a primary focus and average ticket increased over its prior year comparable period for the ninth consecutive quarter,” said Clarence Smith, chairman, president and CEO. “Generating store and site visits remains challenging and expensive for retailers, as methods for reaching the consumer continue to change and fragment.

“The Havertys brand merchandise, pricing discipline, and tight control of inventory were factors in our gross profit margin expansion.”

Smith said the average written ticket was up 2.6% and its custom upholstery written business rose 1.9%.

For the 2016 calendar year, sales rose 2.1% to $821.6 million, while net income rose 2% to $28.4 million or $1.30 per share.

In 2015, net income was $27.8 million or $1.22 per share.

Havertys didn’t issue sales or earnings projections for 2017, but noted that total written sales for the past eight weeks, including New Year’s weekend, are 3.5% above the same period last year. Total delivered sales for the first quarter to date are 5% below than the same period last year, but Smith noted the company’s President’s Day sales event was a week later than last year, so the sales differential should be made up once that merchandise is delivered.

“We remain confident in our ability to serve the on-trend furniture customer and grow our business, despite challenges in the current economic and political climate,” said Smith.

The retailer ended the year with 124 stores, a net gain of three stores from 2015.

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