By  on March 23, 2009

The recession and the retail bankruptcies it has triggered pushed Tarrant Apparel Group Inc. to a fourth-quarter loss on a double-digit sales decline.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Los Angeles-based firm lost $5.8 million, or 19 cents a diluted share, compared with profits of $325,000, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier. Included in the loss for the 2008 quarter was a pretax goodwill impairment charge of $1.4 million for the disposition of Tarrant’s 45 percent stake in American Rag Cie LLC. Sales in the three months fell 34.5 percent to $37.5 million from $57.3 million in the 2007 quarter.

Tarrant said the bankruptcy of department store chain Mervyns, a significant customer, weighed on private label sales.

The company reported a full-year loss of $11.1 million, or 35 cents a share, versus profits of $1.7 million, or 6 cents a share, in 2007. Sales in the 12 months fell 19.9 percent to $195.3 million from $243.7 million in 2007.

Last month, Tarrant agreed to sell its outstanding publicly held shares to its founders, Gerard Guez and Todd Kay, for about 85 cents a share, or $15.2 million.

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