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BUSH PROFITS SOAR 33 PERCENT

New products for small offices contributed to a 33 percent rise in third-quarter profits for Bush Industries Inc., the Jamestown-based furniture maker said Wednesday.

Profits rose to $5.28 million, or 36 cents per share, from $3.98 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago, when earnings were hurt by about 2 cents per share from a write-off related to the bankruptcy of a major customer, Best Products Inc. The earnings were in line with analyst expectations.

The ready-to-assemble furniture maker's sales rose 20 percent to $76.5 million from $63.6 million a year ago.

"New products included furniture for the small commercial office and some entries for home theater," said Donald Hauck, Bush's senior vice president.

"Earnings improved due to higher sales volumes, but were somewhat offset by costs associated with the integration of our two new operations in Europe, certain new product rollouts, and the impact of escalating production requirements at our Erie, Pa., facility," said Paul Bush, chairman and president.

The new Erie plant is seeing higher costs for training and integration as production levels there increase, Hauck said.

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