NEW YORK -- In the midst of a $240 million effort to buy Italy's GFT SpA, first quarter earnings and sales at Plaid Clothing Group were down sharply.A report sent to Plaid bondholders and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said net income for the quarter ended April 3 fell 72 percent to $746,000 from $2.7 million. Sales fell 13.4 percent to $72.7 million.Management said the year-ago quarter was especially strong while the latest quarter was hurt by a poor retail environment and bad weather. Plaid bonds, which are rarely traded, are quoted at 95 to 96 cents on the dollar. In March, Plaid signed a letter of intent to acquire GFT, but the acquisition has been moving slowly. A deadline for a definitive agreement was set for May 15, and the deal was scheduled to be completed by June 30. The May 15 deadline was extended to July 15.

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