Private-label garment maker Oxford Industries said third-quarter profit rose 4%, helped by improvements at Tommy Bahama.

Quarterly income was US$14.6m compared to $14m last year while net sales grew 2% to $356m from $349m a year ago.

Net earnings for the first nine months of fiscal 2006 increased 35% to $39.5m from $29.2m last year as net sales increased 11% to $1.03bn from $927m in the comparable period last year.

"We are pleased to have reported the quarter in line with our expectations, despite some significant expenses associated with streamlining operations in our men's wear division," said J Hicks Lanier, chairman and CEO.

"We continued to improve our profitability within the Tommy Bahama Group, which reported another outstanding quarter of operating margin expansion. While our Ben Sherman business is facing some near-term challenges, we believe that the brand remains very strong and the business is well positioned for growth."

Tommy Bahama Group third-quarter sales were $109m compared to net sales of $101m in the third quarter of fiscal 2005.

The Menswear Group reported third-quarter net sales of $166m compared to $169m in the third quarter of fiscal 2005.

The Womenswear Group reported third-quarter net sales of $81m compared to $79m in the third quarter of fiscal 2005.