By  on February 2, 2009

Hanesbrands Inc. said restructuring charges and a broad-based drop in sales contributed to a reduction in profits in the fourth quarter.

The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based apparel maker reported a 64.1 percent fall in fourth-quarter profits to $17.9 million, or 19 cents a diluted share, from $49.8 million, or 52 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding certain charges, the company’s fourth-quarter earnings equaled 50 cents a share.

Sales in the quarter ended Jan. 3 fell 10.7 percent to $1.04 billion from $1.16 billion last year. The company said sales declined in all of its business segments, though its Champion and Playtex brands and international division fared better than others.

Gross margin in the period fell to 29.9 percent from 31 percent in 2007.

Hanesbrands said it prepaid $139 million in long-term debt in the quarter, outdoing the previously stated goal of $75 million to $125 million. The company ended the year with $1.3 billion in inventory, $50 million under target.

For the whole of fiscal 2008, the company’s profits climbed 1 percent to $127.2 million, or $1.34 a share, versus $126.1 million, or $1.30 a share, a year ago. Sales for the year fell 5 percent to $4.25 billion from $4.47 billion in 2007.

As a policy Hanesbrands does not provide quarterly guidance. It said, though, that it expects the retail environment to remain soft and macroeconomic conditions to remain hostile to growth in the coming year.

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