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From Home Furnishing Business

Despite February Rebound, Bassett Q1 Profits Slip 11.5%

Bassett Furniture Inds. said profits fell 11.5% in the quarter ended Feb. 25 as its company-owned retail segment and Zenith Freight Lines subsidiary swung to operating losses.

Sales for the quarter slipped 0.9% to $105.9 million.

Net income totaled $2.86 million or 27 cents per share. That was down from $3.23 million or 30 cents per share in the same quarter of the previous year.

Basset said its company-owned retail stores had flat sales for the quarter and recorded an operating loss of $1.3 million, a figure impacted by expenses from one store opening, one relocation, and the purchase of a store in Columbus, Ohio, from a licensee.

The retail segment had operating income of $300,000 in the comparable quarter.

Zenith revenues fell 9.7% to $22.3 million due to weaker outbound shipments of non-Bassett products. The business had an operating loss of $200,000, compared to an operating profit of $700,000 in the same quarter last year.

"We produced mixed results in an unpredictable sales environment during the first quarter of 2017," said Robert Spilman, Jr. chairman and CEO. "Coming off a strong Black Friday sale in late November, our year-over-year sales momentum remained relatively strong for the first three weeks of December in the context of the weak seasonality that we experience each year in the pre-Christmas run up.

"However, the calendar shift in late December that essentially eliminated the selling days of the last two weekends of the month really hurt us.  Despite falling significantly behind last year's sales numbers as a result, our retail team rallied and with a strong finish ended the quarter with a 1% delivered and 3.7% written comparable store sales increase.  Furthermore, strong shipping at quarter's end also produced a 4% gain in wholesale revenue."

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