Activewear maker Delta Apparel Inc has swung to a third quarter loss, blaming a combination of restructuring costs, higher raw material, energy and transportation costs coupled with lower sales.

Net loss for the three months to 29 March was $0.4m, or a loss of $0.05 per share, compared to the prior year's net income of $2.8m, or $0.32 per share.

The results include charges of $0.9m, or $0.07 per share, related to the start-up of its Honduran textile facility and the closure of its Fayette, Alabama manufacturing plant.

Net sales for the three months fell 11.3% to $75.4m from $85.0m - mainly due to lower sales in its activewear segment, where the Delta and FunTees businesses saw sales drop 22.9% to $40.3m from $52.3m.

A 7.1% rise in Retail-Ready Apparel sales, consisting of the Soffe and Junkfood businesses where revenues were up to $35.0m from $32.7m, was unable to offset this decline.

Robert W Humphreys, president and chief executive officer, said: "Retailers are taking a more cautious approach with their re-orders and inventory positions due to the slowdown of the general economy and weakness in consumer spending, which is offsetting our results more than we originally expected."

For its fourth quarter, the company lowered its sales forecast to the range of $88m to $98m and diluted earnings to $0.40 to $0.46 per share.

This compares to sales of $91.8m and diluted earnings of $0.08 per share in the prior year quarter.

Amid the general slowdown of the US economy and consumer demand for apparel, Delta Apparel sees fiscal 2008 sales in the range of $305m to $315m and a loss per share of $0.10 to $0.16.