By  on September 10, 2008

ATLANTA — Ashworth Inc. is considering a potential sale or merger of the company, executives said Tuesday following a quarterly net loss for the golf lifestyle apparel manufacturer.

For its third quarter results ending July 31, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company suffered a net loss of $9.6 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $5.7 million, or 39 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Consolidated net revenue slumped 8.7 percent to $45.2 million, down from $49.5 million a year ago.

In a conference call yesterday, Ashworth CEO Allan Fletcher declined to comment further on the potential sale or merger of the company. Ashworth has retained Kurt Salmon Associates Capital Advisors as its financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives.

Strong performance in the company’s domestic golf business, which grew 5.5 percent to 18.2 percent, was not enough to offset losses elsewhere, including Ashworth’s company-owned outlet stores and international sales, Fletcher said.

Sales in Ashworth’s company-owned stores fell 19.8 percent to $2.6 million, which Ashworth blamed on a soft retail environment as well as product assortment and merchandising troubles. International sales fell 14.4 percent to $7.3 million, a result of larger discounts within its resort, golf and retail customers in Europe.

The company’s corporate channel revenue fell 31.5 percent to $4.3 million, which executives said resulted from a decrease on a consolidation of retail accounts and their associated location closures, along with a decision to strategically exit a number of large accounts.

In Tuesday after-hours trading, Ashworth stock rose 6.4 percent to $3.99, or 24 cents a share.

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