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Financial, Retail

Bassett Announces Fiscal Second Quarter Results

The furniture retailer, with 100 locations, reports increases in both consolidated revenue and wholesale orders.

Store exterior
Bassett Furniture operates 100 dedicated retail locations.
BASSETT, Va. -- Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: BSET) announced today its results of operations for its second quarter ended May 29, 2021.

Robert H. Spilman, Jr., chairman and CEO, issued the following statement regarding the results:

Consolidated revenue of $124.1 million for our second quarter represented a 94 percent increase as compared to the pandemic impacted quarter in 2020 and 15 percent as compared to 2019. Similarly, strong wholesale orders of $96.0 million for the period increased by 172 percent versus 2020 and by 51 percent compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 second quarter. As we battle an extremely tight labor market and continued supply chain disruptions, we strive to chip away at our huge order backlog that grew by another $19 million over the three months. Adding to the complexity is the inflationary raw material spiral that we have confronted this year, leading to our unprecedented action of levying three general price increases since our fiscal year began in December. Amidst this unsettled environment, we were pleased to record an $8.4 million operating profit compared to last year’s loss. EPS advanced to $0.60 per share for the quarter against the COVID-19 affected loss of ($2.04) in 2020.

Again, our obvious focus is centered on the reduction of our backlog and returning to a semblance of normalcy in our service levels as soon as possible. Although our cancellation rate has not spiked significantly to date, it is a natural concern. At the recent High Point Furniture Market, we were actually thanked several times for our ability to deliver goods more quickly than the apparent current industry standard, which underscores just how compromised lead times actually are today. Aside from working massive amounts of overtime, the early June opening of our new upholstery production facility in Newton, North Carolina will provide some immediate relief to a portion of the situation. With the polyurethane foam shortage largely behind us, our current raw material bottlenecks lie in the thousands of yards of decorative fabrics that our suppliers owe us. Our production managers have done a great job in shuffling our daily schedules to produce what they can based on the materials that they actually possess. Notwithstanding all the complications of the post-pandemic economy, our wholesale team produced a 7.0 percent operating margin for the period as our wood, upholstery, and outdoor divisions turned in performances significantly better than 2020 and 2019.

Another aspect of the current disorder is the state of the industry’s logistics model. The strong business that has characterized the past 13 months has overwhelmed the furniture trucking segment. There is currently a dearth of warehouse space, warehouse labor, and over the road trailers to handle shipping backlogs. Consequently, even after the goods have been manufactured, there are accompanying lags in logistics service that could represent several weeks of further delay. Exacerbating this state of affairs is the global shortage of shipping containers that continues to plague our sector. Our Zenith Logistics team has performed at a high level in dealing with the cumulative effect of these daily challenges by generating $1.3 million of operating profit for the quarter despite spiraling warehousing labor costs and procuring over 400 trailers on short term leases to combat the equipment shortage. Longer term we are motivated by prospects of our recent regional warehouse model that is showing great promise. Over the past six months we have experimented with keeping some of our best sellers closer to the U.S. population centers for quicker delivery. When we have been able to have these goods in inventory, we have seen significant upticks in rates of sale, which bodes well for our plan to expand this model as product availability becomes normalized.

As mentioned, wholesale orders increased dramatically during the quarter with all channels showing growth. Leading the way was our Bassett Design Center (BDC) network, part of our open market wholesale business, with increases of 212 percent and 87 percent, respectively, compared to 2020 and 2019. Another big part of the overall open market increase was the continuing rise of the Bassett Club Level program, which grew by 328 percent versus 2019. Dedicated Bassett-branded distribution in the form of the Bassett Home Furnishings network and BDC’s represented 67 percent of wholesale sales for the period. Once again, our corporate retail division was not able to deliver goods to the home at the rate that they were sold in the stores. Our digital outreach strategies continued to bear fruit as visitors to our website grew by 51 percent in the quarter. Store traffic, which has declined for the past few years, has held steady since business returned after the stores reopened last May. Still, our corporate retail turned in a profit of $1.6 million while continuing to add to its already large order backlog. Finally, we are excited by the combined results of the Lane Venture and Bassett Outdoor sales strategies as they combined for a 122 percent increase to 2020 and 124 percent to 2019. Much of the new business came from our Alabama metal facility that we purchased in 2019.

Summing it all up for the quarter, we wrote more wholesale business than we had in many years, back to when we operated a much larger domestic manufacturing footprint in the pre-globalization days. While retiring $2.4 million of stock and paying our quarterly dividend, we ended May with $63.5 million of cash and short-term investments and no debt. There are many cost pressures and raw material lead times remain long. But we have a very large backlog and our most recent big sales event around Memorial Day was very strong. Taking all of those positives and negatives into account, we remain encouraged concerning our prospects for the remainder of 2021.

About Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc.

Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:BSET), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of high quality home furnishings. With 97 company- and licensee-owned stores at the time of this release, Bassett has leveraged its strong brand name in furniture into a network of corporate and licensed stores that focus on providing consumers with a friendly environment for buying furniture and accessories. Bassett’s retail strategy includes stylish, custom-built furniture that features the latest on-trend furniture styles, free in-home design visits, and coordinated decorating accessories. Bassett also has a traditional wholesale business with more than 700 accounts on the open market, across the United States and internationally and a logistics business specializing in home furnishings.
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