Upscale sportswear producer Cutter & Buck Inc on Wednesday revealed it swung to a first quarter net profit as it was boosted by a strong performance by its remaining wholesale unit and improved margins.

The Seattle-based firm posted a net profit for the 13 weeks to July 31 of $1.1 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, versus a year-ago net loss of $1.6m, or 15 cents a share.

Pre-tax profit from its wholesale business more than doubled to $3.2m from $1.3m last year while group sales were flat at $32.7m. Gross margin per cent climbed to 45 per cent for the quarter compared to 41.9 per cent in 2002.

The company added its first quarter net profit also includes $1.7m in pre-tax restatement expenses, including expenses to settle the shareholder lawsuits and the SEC investigation.

CEO Fran Conley said: "Cutter & Buck's restructuring is now substantially complete. Sales are stable, margins are good, and costs are controlled. We have a strong brand with loyal customers and a full, skilled management team. We can now build on this foundation."

Separately on Wednesday, the company announced the appointment of Henry Fielding as vice president and manager of the Products Group. He will be responsible for the departments that develop the company's line plans and merchandising approaches, design and develop the product, and get the product manufactured.

He was most recently vice president of Calvin Klein Home where he was responsible for directing product development, merchandising, and sourcing, and was also vice president and brand manager for Vanity Fair where he directed merchandising, design and sales.

"We are delighted that Henry will lead the company's efforts to have the best possible product line," added Conley. "We expect to benefit from his experience and energy. With his arrival, we now have a full team of skilled senior managers."