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ATLANTA-Home furnishings retailer Haverty Furniture Cos. reported a decline in net income for the third quarter of 2005 but said October sales showed improvement with total sales for the month rising to $66.7 million, up 3.9 % from $66.1 million for the same period a year earlier. Written orders for October declined 2.8 %, however, due in part to a recent spate of hurricanes in Florida.

The Atlanta home furnishings retailer reported a slight decline in net income for the third quarter with total net income for the period $3.8 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, compared to 2004′s third quarter net income of $4.2 million or 18 cents per diluted share. The drop was due in large part to rising transportation costs and markdowns. Net sales for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, 2005 were up, however, with the company posting $202 million in quarterly net sales, an increase of 2.3% compared to sales of $194.4 million in the third quarter of 2004.

Haverty, which operate 118 showrooms in 17 states, said its same-store sales and total sales for the first nine months of the year showed improvement with same-store sales climbing 1.8% while total sales increased 5.8% to $670.7 million, nearly $34 million more that the $633.4 million reported for the first 10 months of 2004. Net income for the same period declined by more than $5 million, however, to $8.3 million or 35 cents per diluted share compared to the first nine months of 2004 when net income was $13.9 million or 60 cents per diluted share.

Clarence H. Smith, Haverty’s president and chief executive officer, said an expansion of the company’s eastern distribution center, scheduled to be completed next year, should help improve delivery issues that have impacted the firm’s imported merchandise flow.

“This change should enable us to better handle the normal fluctuations in business and increase our peak throughput capacity,” he said.

The company also will expand its Haverty brand and work with designers to create more products directly from its Asian suppliers.

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