MARTINSVILLE, VA - Hooker Furniture President Alan Cole will retire next year. The residential furniture manufacturer said Cole's retirement will be effective Feb. 2, 2014. He will be succeeded by Michael Delgatti, president of Hooker Upholstery and also the executive vice president of sales.

Cole began at Hooker in 2007 as executive vice president of Upholstery Operations. He later was named president of Hooker Upholstery before becoming president of Hooker Furniture Corp. (Nasdaq:HOFT).

"We greatly appreciate Alan's profound contributions to Hooker Furniture, Bradington-Young and Sam Moore," Paul Toms Jr., chairman and CEO said in a statement. "The strategic vision and team-building he has brought to our organization, as well as the two new businesses he conceived and launched, will make this a stronger company for many years to come."

"At the same time," Toms added, "We are very confident in Mike as he prepares to assume the presidency of Hooker Furniture Corporation."

Delgatti will focus on domestic and international sales, merchandising, marketing and oversee all upholstery operations. Toms, the company said, will continue to focus on case goods operations, supply chain, logistics, corporate services, investor and Board relations as well as the new Homeware and H Contract businesses.

Hooker Furniture Corp. is ranked among the nation's top 10 largest publicly traded furniture sources based on 2012 shipments to U.S. retailers. The 89-year old firm offers residential wood, metal and upholstered furniture. Products are sold under the Hooker, Bradington-Young, Sam Moore Furniture,  Seven Seas, Homeware and H Contract brands.

In related news, Hooker Furniture Corp. reported a 4.1% increase in net sales and a 13% drop in net income during its 2014 fiscal third quarter which ended Nov. 3.

Net sales totaled $59.1 million, compared to $56.8 million last year. Net income totaled $2.1 million, down from $2.4 million last year.

For the fiscal 2014 first nine months, net sales increased 7.6%, or $12 million, to $170.7 million, and net income increased 20.3% to $5.9 million.

"This was one of our strongest shipping quarters in the last five years, and demand is up for both casegoods and upholstery compared to a year ago," Toms said. "We had our second largest shipping quarter in five years, exceeded only slightly by last year's fourth quarter, which had an extra week. Our written business at the October High Point Market was the best in the last three years," he added.

The company attributed the growth in net sales for the quarter to "higher average selling prices in both casegoods and upholstery due to changes in product mix." Gains were also driven by increased volume in the upholstery segment.

Toms attributed the decline in net income for the fiscal 2014 third quarter to previously announced increased discounting in casegoods to dispose of slow-moving casegoods inventory, start-up costs for the new H Contract and Homeware brands and production ramp-up costs at Sam Moore.

"Our casegoods inventories are still above targeted levels, and we've had higher discounts, primarily related to groups and product lines we are discontinuing. With Homeware and H Contract, we anticipated start-up costs and spending would come before revenues on both these long-term strategic initiatives. Our profitability challenges at Sam Moore revolve around the ramp-up of production and higher labor costs to meet demand that's increased 15% to 20% per year during the last two-and-a-half years," he said.

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