Hooker Furniture's (NASDAQ:HOFT) results may be hard to compare, but it's easy to see that they're headed in the right direction. The company changed the date its fiscal year ends, so it is comparing this period, which is for the three months that ended July 29, 2007, to the year-ago quarter that ended Aug. 31, 2006. And despite a sales decline, I see some positives in the quarter.

Since the calendar shift throws things off, the best measure to use is average daily sales. On that basis, sales fell 10.1%, to $1.15 million per day. On the bright side, gross margins improved 3% as the company incurred lower delivery costs. Selling and administrative expenses also fell, in part since warehousing and storage costs declined. These steps all helped the bottom line, and earnings jumped to $0.39 a share, from $0.10 a year ago.

That's not too bad, with the housing market's decline and higher borrowing costs both affecting furniture makers these days. Furniture Brands' (NYSE:FBN) recent sales and earnings results were down, and Stanley (NASDAQ:STLY) has also seen its earnings suffer. At the high end of the market, Ethan Allen (NYSE:ETH) has seen modestly improving sales, but it, too, was cautious in its outlook.

And even at Hooker, projections are for sales to stay flat or moderately decline. But the company is expecting costs to continually decline and is working to efficiently control supply-chain management. So when the cycle turns and sales pick up again, I think Hooker  should be well positioned to get right back on track.

Last quarter's results:

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Fool contributor Larry Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and he promises to read it when he's not being wrestled by his three children. Feel free to email him at rothmanviews@comcast.net. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.