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ATLANTA, GA- Better in-stock levels and a reduction in delivery time helped third quarter sales jump 10.3% to $222.9 million at Havertys Furniture Cos., but a slowdown throughout much of the furniture industry sent October sales plummeting 7.6% to $63.5 million. The Atlanta furniture retailer said sales at stores open at least a year were up by 8.2% during the three months ended Sept.30, 2006 but were off 10.1% for October.

Net income for the quarter was $4.1 million, or 18 cents per share, an increase over the same quarter last year when net income was $3.8 million, or 17 cents per share, the company said. Clarence H. Smith, president and chief executive officer, said the stronger quarterly sales and profits were helped by better in-stock furniture levels and a reduction in the time it took the firm to complete a home delivery following a purchase.

The full-service home furnishings retailer, which opened its first store in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area and a second store outside of Dallas during the quarter, operates 120 showroom stores in 17 states, predominantly in the Southern and Midwestern regions. The company also opened a third store in Florence, KY at the start of the fourth quarter. No other openings or closings are planned for the rest of the fiscal year, the company said.

The company said October sales dropped from $68.6 million in October 2005 to $63.5 million with comparable store sales also off by 10.1% for the month. Smith said the sales drop reflected “a definite slowdown in recent months that appears to be continuing” throughout much of the retail furniture industry.

“We are cautious about making changes other than minor ones to our pricing and promotional plans but will review opportunities to increase top line growth if it helps overall profitability,” Smith said in a statement announcing the company’s October results. He said although the firm does not give specific quarterly guidance, the October slowdown has led company officials to believe that total fourth quarter sales will be below last year’s levels.

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