NEW YORK -- WestPoint Stevens, Inc., reported operating earnings rose in the fourth quarter and full year, but after an assortment of special items the company posted hefty net losses in both periods.

Sales at Alamac, WestPoint's knit apparel fabrics division, dropped 14.5 percent in the quarter to $55.6 million, from $64.8 million, reflecting the weak apparel market, the company said.

Morgan M. Schuessler, executive vice president of finance, said the order intake at Alamac has improved since the beginning of 1994, but "it's still a very competitive marketplace."

Sales for the year at Alamac dropped 11.5 percent to $233.5 million.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, WestPoint Stevens reported operating profits of $50.7 million before amortization of excess reorganization value, up 23.2 percent from $41.1 million a year earlier.

Special charges in the quarter included $55.7 million principally from the writedown of excess reorganization value. The company also took a $13.5 million aftertax charge for the write-off of deferred financing costs and fees. The net loss for the quarter came to $56 million. The company said results are not comparable to last year because Valley Fashions, WestPoint's holding company, emerged from bankruptcy in September 1992 and since has been merged with WestPoint Pepperell to form WestPoint Stevens.

Total sales for the quarter were virtually flat at $391.2 million, against $394 million a year earlier.

Expressing optimism for 1994, Holcombe T. Green Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, said the company's plants have been running on full schedule since July, and the year began with "substantial" sales momentum.

In the year, the operating profit before special charges was $163.2 million, up 9.7 percent from $148.7 million.

The net loss for 1993 was $402.3 million, which included a $200 million restructuring charge and other special charges totaling $358.1 million after taxes, plus an $80.7 million loss on extinguishment of debt.

Total sales for the year were flat at $1.5 billion.

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