MARTINSVILLE, Va.--Tultex Corp. reported third-quarter earnings rose 58 percent to $7.4 million, or 24 cents a share, the company's first quarterly profit this year. In the year-ago quarter, Tultex earned $4.7 million, or 15 cents. Sales in the quarter ended Oct. 1 advanced 12 percent to $208.9 million from $187.1 million.
John Franck, chairman and chief executive officer, said inventories were slashed 13 percent or $24 million, and since July the company has been able to increase prices on all jersey items and at-once fleece orders. Activewear, particularly the Discus Athletic brand, is strong. However, there has been softness in licensed sports apparel, which Franck attributed to the baseball and hockey players' strikes. He said the company continues to gain market share in this business nevertheless, particularly with the Logo Athletic brand.
He noted that while the outlook seems to be improving, the fall season is still critical. In the nine months, Tultex posted a net loss of $548,000 against a year-ago profit of $3.7 million, or 10 cents. Sales were up 5 percent to $397.1 million from $378.4 million.
--Fairchild News Service

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