BASSETT, VA - Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. reported that sales for the fourth quarter of 2008 were $61.7 million, down 18.9% from the $76.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. Bassett said this shortfall is primarily due to continued soft furniture retail conditions fueled by the significant economic turmoil during the fourth quarter of 2008 that affected the financial markets, consumer confidence and spending on big-ticket items such as furniture.

"Business deteriorated significantly as the 2008 fourth quarter progressed, negatively affecting our results on several fronts," said Robert Spilman Jr., president and CEO. "In addition to the extremely weak economy and its effect on the furniture industry, the mid-September worldwide financial meltdown impacted the value of our investment portfolio as well…

"We are in an extremely volatile and difficult environment and are focusing our efforts squarely on the generation and preservation of cash,” Spilman said. “At year end, we had reduced inventories by 13 percent, a $6.7 million reduction. Company wide headcount had dropped 7 percent despite the acquisition of four licensed stores during the course of the year. We are continuing to assess our overall cost structure and inventory levels and are presently implementing plans to reduce both. Accordingly, the Company has recently suspended its employee 401k match and its quarterly dividend to shareholders.”

Sales for the year ended Nov. 29, 2008 and November 24, 2007 were $288.3 million and $295.4 million, respectively, representing a decrease of 2.4%. Sales for the full year of 2008 and 2007 were positively impacted by $16.4 million and $5.2 million, respectively, due to a change in the company's business practices with respect to freight for the delivery of wholesale furniture to its retail stores.

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