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Hooker Furniture Announces Overhead Cuts

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Hooker Furniture announced that it will permanently lay off 25 employees in operations, warehousing and administration at its wood furniture division based in Martinsville, VA. The reduction of 9.1% of Hooker's approximately 263 wood furniture division employees was necessary because of the prolonged economic slump in the furniture industry and the resulting reduction in sales volume at the Company, according to Paul Toms, chairman and chiefexecutive officer. "We must scale the size of our organization to mirror the amount of business we are doing today in order to remain efficient, profitable and competitive," Toms said. "The marketplace will not allow us the luxury of having the same size staff that we did as a larger company." While the layoff is a "step we needed to take," Toms said, the Company does so "with great sorrow and disappointment that employees who have served the Company well are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Our loss will be a gain for anyone looking for quality employees," he said. Toms added that Hooker does not anticipate a need for any additional layoffs in the foreseeable future. By scaling its workforce to the company's current sales volume, "the remaining employees at Hooker have a more secure future," Toms said. "Although we are profitable and financially solid, we aren't as profitable as we have been and should be, and part of the reason is the significant amount of overhead we have been carrying. Part of being competitive is to be sure we are an efficient organization, and that our infrastructure is in line with sales volume." Toms said Hooker is confident it is adequately staffed to continue the same level of quality and service its customers expect. "While committed to reducing costs, we've said all along that we will be careful not to do anything that would compromise either product quality or customer service," he said. The affected employees will be offered severance packages based on years of service. In addition, Hooker is coordinating with the Virginia Employment Commission to offer affected employees job transition and placement assistance. The layoff represents 2.6% of Hooker's corporate-wide workforce of 912, including upholstery companies Sam Moore and bradington-Young. However, it does not affect employees at either upholstery company. Ranked among the nation's top 10 largest publicly traded furniture sources based on 2007 shipments to U.S. retailers, Hooker Furniture is an 84-year old residential wood, metal and upholstered furniture resource. Major wood furniture product categories include home entertainment, home office, accent, dining, bedroom and bath furniture sold under the Hooker Furniture brand, and youth bedroom furniture sold under the Opus Designs brand. Hooker's residential seating companies include Cherryville, N.C.-based Bradington-Young, a specialist in upscale motion and stationary leather furniture, and Bedford, Va.-based Sam Moore Furniture, a specialist in upscale occasional chairs with an emphasis on cover-to-frame customization.

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