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Dixie Sales Hurt By Storms

The Dixie Group Inc., a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based producer of carpets and rugs, said storm-related suspension of operations at some of its plants will take a minor bite out of sales, holding a projected third-quarter-sales gain to 25 percent, down from an earlier pace of 30 percent growth.

Dixie Chairman and CEO Daniel Frierson said manufacturing and distribution facilities in Saraland and Atmore, Ala., “suffered only minor damage as a result of Hurricane Ivan. The disruption of operations and the lack of power have been the biggest issues.”

Frierson added, “Our sales and order entry have been exceptionally strong during the third quarter 2004, with year-over-year sales comparisons up over 30 percent through the week prior to the hurricane. The suspension of operations last week caused shipments to be delayed. In spite of the disruption, we anticipate sales for the third quarter to be about 25 percent higher than year-ago levels.”

Dixie Group is a producer of carpets and rugs to higher-end residential and commercial customers through the Fabrica International, Masland Carpets and Dixie Home brands.

Bank of America Boosts Wal-Mart

Bank of America Analyst Aram Rubinson has raised his rating on mega-retailer Wal-Mart to a 'buy” from a “neutral,” and at the same time raised his price target for the stock to $60 from $55.

“Today, the stock is cheaper, sentiment is cautious and a 'weakish' fiscal third quarter has already been telegraphed,” Rubinson said in a research report.

The analyst said energy prices remain a concern, noting they have effectively cost Wal-Mart customers about $40 billion. But, he added, higher energy costs “have already taken their toll on the low-end customer, so the surprise factor is next to nil.”

And energy prices, he added, are poised to settle down or decline next year, with that extra cash in consumers' pockets possibly adding 2 to 3 percentage points to Wal-Mart same-store sales

Looking at the retailer's stock price, the analyst commented, “With a sustainable growth rate of 13 to 15 percent, investors only need to recognize the potential for one year of growth for the stock to be attractive. We think that is quite a reasonable scenario.”

Culp Names Five Directors

Culp Inc., the High Point, N.C.-based fabric producer, has named five to its board of directors.

Three directors were re-elected to serve three-year terms: Howard Dunn Jr., H. Bruce English and Kenneth McAllister.

Two new directors, filling vacancies whose terms expire in 2005, are Jean Brunel, managing principal of Brunel Associates, a wealth-management-consulting firm; and Kenneth Larson, owner, president and CEO of Slumberland Furniture, a home furnishings retailer with 89 stores in a nine-state area of the Midwest.

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