Activewear maker Delta Apparel Inc on Friday reported a 76 per cent leap in first quarter sales, boosted by its acquisition of the MJ Soffe Co branded apparel business in October 2003.

For the three months ended 2 October, sales were $54.3 million the company said.

Operating income increased 185 per cent to $3.1 million for the quarter, from $1.1 million in the same period of the prior year.

Robert W Humphreys, president and CEO, said: "The Soffe business contributed $22.0 million in sales and $3.1 million in operating income during the first fiscal quarter of fiscal year 2005."

The Delta business reported sales of $33.4 million for the three months, an increase of $2.6 million, or 8.5 per cent, over last year. The Delta segment shipped product to approximately 26 per cent more customers during the quarter than in the prior year quarter.