NEW YORK — Higher sales pushed Tropical Sportswear International’s third-quarter earnings ahead 76 percent, to the highest level for any quarter in the company’s 73-year history.
For the period ended July 1, the Tampa, Fla.-based men’s and women’s casual and dress sportswear manufacturer said its earnings surged to $5.7 million, or 74 cents a share, from $3.3 million, or 42 cents a share, in the prior-year period.
Sales in the quarter increased 11 percent to $123 million from $110.5 million. Gross margin improved to 29.3 percent compared with 26.8 percent last year.
TSI’s results in net sales and margins are from improved product mix, an increase in units shipped and greater operating efficiencies during the quarter, the company said.
“Our operating blueprint continues to deliver strong top line growth as well as improved margins, operating efficiencies, cash flow generation and positions us well for future growth,” William W. Compton, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
Compton also cited the success of the company’s women’s line, launched last year. He told WWD that Wal-Mart has already doubled its budget for TSI’s 100 percent cotton pleated pants and plain-front cotton pants, both priced at $15. On the men’s side, he said TSI did well in a nylon packable short line. The shorts, which could be folded into their own pocket, are available in 18 different colors.
For the first 9 months, income grew 40.7 percent to $13.3 million, or $1.73 a share, up from $9.6 million, or $1.22 a share. Net sales increased by 10.6 percent to $348.9 million from $315.4 million. Gross margin improved to 29.5 percent of net sales compared with 28.1 percent.
“Newness is driving our market. We continue to grow our business through product and marketing innovation,” Compton said.
TSI doubled in size in 1998 when it bought apparel maker Farah (now its Savane subsidiary). The deal made TSI one of the nation’s largest pants makers.
TSI offers branded and private label lines through major distribution channels including department and specialty stores. Licenses include Bill Blass, John Henry and Van Heusen.

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