Group Increases Stake in House of Fabrics to 10.8%

A group that includes FMR Corp., parent company of the giant Fidelity group of mutual funds and its Bermuda-based Fidelity International Ltd., has disclosed that it raised its stake in House of Fabrics to 10.8%.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the group said it owns 709,400 shares in the Sherman Oaks chain of fabric stores, including 151,700 shares purchased from April 24 to Dec. 4. The group appears to have become the company's largest shareholder, passing the Sofro family, which founded House of Fabrics.

Gary L. Larkins, House of Fabrics president and chief executive, said Fidelity has invested in the company's stock for nearly two years. He said he has not spoken with Fidelity officials since the disclosure was made.

He suggested, however, that, since the stock was bought at $11 to $12 a share, Fidelity executives may have felt it was a good investment, particularly in the wake of its drop from about $16 a share before the October stock market crash.

Fidelity executives could not be reached for comment, and the filing did not disclose reasons for the additional purchases.

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