The new CEO of Australian clothing and footwear company Pacific Brands has admitted that group underlying sales have continued to fall since the end of the company's financial year.

Speaking at the group's AGM, John Pollaers said that year-to-date underlying sales are down and that there has been no noticeable improvement in the operating environment this year.

"Time will tell whether the latest interest rate cut has much impact, but prudently our plans assume more of the same," he told investors today (23 October).

In August, the company said full-year losses widened to A$450.7m, from a $131.9m net loss in the prior year. Sales fell 18% over the year to $1.3bn. Excluding the loss of a contract with retailer Kmart, sales fell 4.3%.

Sales in the underwear group were up, with the Bonds brand performing well, but Rio and Holeproof offset much of the growth. Meanwhile, work wear is down, with the drop in activity observed since March/April showing no immediate signs of turning.

Speaking about what he had discovered as the main issues in the business in his first 50 days with the company, he said the company would focus on maximising the full potential of each business, which will see the company invest in its key brands and work more closely with wholesale customers and increase direct sales through bricks-and-mortar as well as online.

The company will look to expand its geographic footprint, particularly into markets like China and to maintain an internationally competitive sourcing and supply chain, with plans to explore sourcing from markets other than China, Hong Kong and Indonesia, where it currently does the majority of its sourcing.