CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The Dixie Group Inc. has reported net income of $223,000, or 2 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 29, 2001. For the same period in 2000, the company reported a net loss of $3.7 million, or 32 cents per diluted share. Net sales were $132.3 million in the third quarter of 2001, down from $148.7 in the year-earlier period.

For the first nine months of 2001, the company reported a net loss of $2.3 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $3.6 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2000. Year-to-date sales were $410.9 million in 2001, compared with sales of $431.2 million for the first nine months of 2000.

"We are encouraged with the progress we are making in strengthening our balance sheet and with the cost reductions achieved consolidating our North Georgia operations," commented Daniel K. Frierson, company chairman and CEO. "Our debt, including amounts advanced under the company's accounts receivables securitization program, was reduced another $12 million during the third quarter, bringing our total debt reduction to over $49 million since its high point in August 2000.

"Although sales in the third quarter were down due to weak demand in most of our markets, our high-end business continues to be least affected by the slowdown in the economy,” Frierson continued. “We are optimistic that sales will improve in 2002. The factory-built housing industry appears to be coming out of its long slump, and our sales to that industry are now running ahead of the same periods in 2000. We also see signs that our home center business is beginning to improve. We are well positioned to take advantage of improvements in our markets as a result of the manufacturing efficiencies we have created over the past year. Our focus remains on delivering value to our customers, simplifying operations, improving profitability, and reducing debt."

The Dixie Group previously announced that its senior lenders have extended until Nov. 30 the waiver of compliance with certain financial covenants of the company's senior credit agreement. The company expects to amend the credit agreement on a longer-term basis prior to the expiration of the current waiver extension.