Textile mill shipments in the US fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2001 as they plunged 12 per cent to $46.8 billion from $53.1bn in the previous year, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute revealed on Thursday.

The Washington-based group also said US textile mill sales declined for the fifth straight year, falling to $53.9bn in 2001 from $57.8bn in 2000.

However, despite those figures the US textile industry made a profit of $300 million, its lowest level for more than 70 years, but an improvement on a $330m loss in 2000.