Delta Galil Industries Ltd, the global provider of private label intimate apparel, men's underwear, socks, baby-wear and leisurewear, reported a 52 per cent increase in net income to $6.6 million or $0.35 per share compared to the same period last year.

Third quarter sales rose 2 per cent to $151.9 million. North America accounted for 57 per cent of total third quarter sales, Europe for 37 per cent and Israel for 6 per cent the company said in a statement.

In the first nine months of 2002, sales fell 3 per cent to $407.9 million from the first nine months of 2001. North America accounted for 54 per cent of total first nine month sales, Europe for 39 per cent and Israel for 7 per cent. Net income for the period was $11.7 million or $0.62 per share, an increase of 16 per cent and 17 percent respectively. Net income for the first nine months, before non-recurring items, amounted to $12.5 million or $0.66 per share, an increase of 17 percent and 18 per cent respectively year-on-year.

Non-recurring items in the first nine months of 2002 included expenses relating to the cancellation of a contract with a supplier and the closure of a sewing plant.

Delta's nine-month sales in North America increased 1 per cent for the third quarter to $86.4 million compared to $85.5 million. North American sales dropped 7 per cent to $219.8 million against $236.7 million in the same period of 2001.

Delta said sales to its largest customer, UK chain Marks & Spencer, increased 4 per cent for the third quarter to $42.3 million. This represents 28 per cent of Delta's total sales, compared to $40.7 million in the third quarter of 2001, which represented 27 per cent of total sales.

In the first nine months of 2002, Delta's sales to Marks & Spencer increased 8 per cent, totalling $121.4 million and representing 30 per cent of sales. In the nine-month period of 2001 M&S sales were $112.6 million or 27 per cent of the total.

Arnon Tiberg, Delta's president and CEO, commented: "We are reaping the fruits of our strategy of focusing on market leading customers. We are benefiting from the improvement in our primary customers' businesses, and from the strengthening of the pound sterling and the euro against the US dollar."

Delta Galil's customers include Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Nike, Marks & Spencer, Victoria's Secret, and Gap.