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Culp steadies results

High Point, N.C. – Stabilizing sales after a long downward slide, hammered by imports, but at the same time building margins, slashing costs, thinning stockpiles and paring restructuring costs, the fabric producer Culp Inc. climbed back on track with a small first-quarter profit of $132,000, reversing a year-before loss of $3.9 million.

Sales at the decorative fabric supplier edged up by 0.4%, to $62.6 million from $62.3 million, after declining by almost 5% in the prior quarter, and by 9% for all of last year.

Robert G. Culp III, chairman and ceo, called the quarterly profit and substantially improved operating metrics "a defining point" for the company. The improvement, he said, reflects "the aggressive steps we have taken this year to more effectively position Culp in the dynamic global marketplace," notably culling its U.S. manufacturing operations.

Underlining the turnaround, Culp's decorative fabrics business recorded its first operating profit following two years of losses, a

$1.6 million profit vs. a prior-year loss of $380,000. Just as notable, sales in the core business held relatively steady after years of decline, gaining 3.3%, to $40.7 million from $39.4 million last year.

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