VALDESE, N.C. — Alba-Waldensian Inc. reported first-quarter operating earnings were up 39.4 percent, but high interest expense pared the gain to 13.2 percent on the bottom line.
In the quarter ended April 3, the company earned $341,210, or 19 cents a share, against $301,521, or 17 cents a year earlier.
Operating earnings rose to $616,145 from $441,995.
The interest costs were related to purchase of equipment, said Tom Nail, chief financial officer.
Sales in the quarter were up 11.6 percent, to $13.4 million from $12 million.
Thomas F. Schuster, president and chief executive officer, said gross profit margins improved a full point, and sales and operating earnings were each ahead of the company’s expectations.
Schuster said sales at Alba Direct, the company’s telemarketing division, soared 66.1 percent in the quarter.
“The second quarter is also looking very strong,” Schuster continued, adding that total open orders at the beginning of that quarter were 62.5 percent ahead of last year’s levels. The company makes women’s hosiery, panties and bras under various brands, and men’s socks and sweaters.