The first quarterly results posted by Delta Apparel Inc(AMEX: DLA)since it became an independent business at the end of June, showed on-target sales of $30.6 million, up 6.9 per cent from $28.7 million in the first fiscal quarter of last year. The company, a vertically integrated supplier of knit apparel, particularly T-shirts, also benefited from increased output at all of its factory facilities. The gross margin increased to $7.2 million, or 23.6 per cent of sales, compared to $3.7 million, or 12.9 per cent of sales, in the prior year quarter. Operating earnings were $4.6 million, up $2.8 million from $1.8 million in the first fiscal quarter of last year."Delta Apparel made considerable progress during the first quarter of fiscal 2001 in accomplishing its short term and long term business objectives," said president and CEO Robert W Humphreys. "Sales growth was on target, and we exceeded our gross profit expectations for the quarter. This performance was driven by a further improvement in our sales mix." "We also made progress on the manufacturing front with increased output at all of our facilities compared to the first quarter of last year. During the quarter, we started training sewing operators for our Mexico expansion and are now making first quality garments in our training center."