Golf apparel firm Sport-Haley Inc on Friday posted a reduced fourth quarter loss of $429,000 on the back of a four per cent climb in sales and said it is "optimistic" of a better performance in fiscal 2003.

The Colorado-based company said net sales for the quarter to June 30 rose to $5.2 million but fell 21 per cent to $17.1m for the fiscal year due to the "general downturn in the US economy combined with the significant negative economic impact caused by September 11".

Reporting a wider full-year net loss of $973,000, CEO Kevin Tomlinson said: "We're certainly not pleased with the company's financial performance over the last two years.

"Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that the operational improvements we enacted have strategically enabled the company to re-establish itself as a formidable competitor in the golf apparel market. We fully anticipate that Sport-Haley will achieve financial improvements in the new fiscal year."

He added: "The golf apparel industry in general seems to be stabilising. Based upon current bookings for Spring 2003 Haley and Ben Hogan apparel collections, management anticipates considerable increases in net sales in fiscal 2003 as compared with fiscal 2002 and significantly higher gross margins as well."