The Leather Factory today reported net income of $315,099 or $0.03 per share for the third quarter. For the quarter ended September 30, 2000, sales declined slightly to $7,374,556 from $7,625,168 in sales for the same quarter last year. Despite the three per cent sales loss, the company's increased gross margins and lower interest costs pushed net income up over 15 per cent for the third quarter of 2000 compared to $272,565 or $0.03 per share for the third quarter of 1999. Management attributed approximately $800,000 of third quarter 1999 sales to the one-time implementation of a new sales program with a large craft retailer.For the nine months ended September 30, 2000, sales remain higher at $22,382,518 compared to $19,678,118 for the first nine months of 1999. The Leather Factory posted strong results for the nine months ended September 30, 2000 as the company's net income for the first three quarters of the fiscal year 2000 exceeded $1 million for the first time since 1995. The comparison of net income of $1,192,435, or $0.12 per share, for the first nine months of 2000 compared to income of $187,082, or $0.02 per share, for the same period in 1999, shows an improvement of over 500%.Wray Thompson, chairman, president and CEO, said: "We are pleased with our third quarter results - even with the slight sales decrease. Our sales were down by only $250,000 this quarter. If you exclude the impact of the one-time $800,000 sales in the third quarter of 1999, our sales actually increased approximately $550,000 for the quarter."