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Culp Inc., the High Point-based textile firm, reported a big turnaround in profits during the year ended April 29 despite a slight decline in sales.

Culp said it earned $2.286 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year ended April 29, compared with a loss of $892,000, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. Sales declined 4 percent to $169.454 million.'The primary factors contributing to the significant profit turnaround were a more profitable sales mix, reduced operating expenses and sharply lower interest expense,' said Robert G. Culp, III, chief executive officer. ``Although the decision a year ago to phase out certain lower-margin fabric categories led to reduced sales, we are pleased with the progress achieved to date in restoring Culp's profitability.

Culp also said that Culp, 43, had been elected chairman of Culp's board of directors effective with the company's annual meeting on Sept. 18. Culp's father, Robert G. Culp Jr., 73, is retiring as chairman. The elder Culp, who founded the company with his son, will remain on Culp's board.

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