Textile maker Delta Woodside Industries Inc on Tuesday posted a steep plunge in fourth quarter earnings but swung to a full year profit after being hit by hefty restructuring charges in the prior year.

The firm, which employs around 1,600 people and operates five plants in South Carolina, reported net income of $2 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 28, versus net income of $10.8m, or $1.86 per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales for the latest quarter fell 7.1 per cent to $48.7m from $52.4m "principally due to a decline in unit sales related to customer order deferments that resulted from a slowdown at retail partially offset by a slight increase in average sales prices due to the introduction of some new products".

For the full year, Delta reported net income of $2.6m, or 44 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $2.1m, or $36 cents per share, in the previous fiscal year. Sales for the 12 month period grew 1.5 per cent to $177.2m from $174.7m.

President and CEO, WF Garrett, commented: "Our fourth quarter was generally consistent with the entire fiscal year of 2003. Retail activity for casual pants remains slow and we see no dramatic improvement in the near future as our inventories continue to be adjusted.

"Due to our focused effort on cost reductions and more attention to efficiently operating our day-to-day business in response to growing customer demand for quick response, Delta Woodside's overall performance significantly improved. By following our business plan, we expect to continue to move in the right direction."