Mattress maker shares up on strong sales

AP News
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Posted: May 25, 2012 2:27 PM
Mattress maker shares up on strong sales

Shares of mattress makers got a boost Friday from an industry survey that showed U.S. mattress sales improved sharply for April.

The International Sleep Products Association reported that the number of mattresses shipped increased 6.6 percent in April, that's compared with a 4.9 percent decline in March, when each month is compared with a year earlier, according to a research note from KeyBanc Markets analyst Bradley Thomas. He said the dollar value of those shipments rose 17 percent in April, thanks to higher prices, compared with a 6 percent gain in March.

"We continue to view the sector positively, despite increased concerns regarding competitive pressures," Thomas said.

Thomas said specialty mattress makers such as Tempur-Pedic International Inc., continue to outperform traditional mattress makers, but their shares also rose. Investors seemed glad for a signal that consumers are increasingly willing to make big-ticket purchases.

Here's how companies in the sector fared:

_ Shares of Tempur-Pedic were up $2.19, or 4.7, trading by mid-afternoon at $49.29. Thomas reiterated a "Buy" rating.

_ Select Comfort Corp.'s stock rose $1.13 to $27.70, about 4.3 percent. Thomas reiterated a "Buy" rating.

_ Shares of Sealy Corp., which makes three types of mattresses rose 8 cents, or 5 percent, to $1.69. Thomas maintained a "Hold" rating.

_ Shares of retailer Mattress Firm Holding Corp., which sells both traditional and specialty mattresses, soared $3.27, or 9.1 percent, to $39.11.