Yarn giant Unifi Inc on Wednesday reported a narrower second quarter net loss of $2.2 million versus $3.5m in the year-ago period but said sales during the period slipped 5.5 per cent year-on-year to $201.9m.

The North Carolina-based firm, one of the world's largest producers and processors of textured yarns, said in a statement it attributed the sales slip to reduced sales prices accompanied by a change in product mix.

It added it expects the difficult operating environment to continue in 2003 amid continued economic weakness and pressure from higher levels of imported goods.

CEO Brian Parke commented: "On a global basis, our operations in Brazil continue to perform well, with profits and volumes for the quarter and year-to-date periods of fiscal 2003 significantly ahead of those realised in the prior year comparable periods, primary resulting from continued improvements in market penetration.

"Our European operations continue to perform in line with our expectations and Unifi Asia, based in Hong Kong, continues to make progress in developing relationships with Asian customers, while preparing the way for future growth in the region.

"We are continuing to drive sales of Unifi products in the Americas through our focus and commitment to innovation and alliance building. The Caribbean Basin region continues to be a base for expanding business in this hemisphere, and we anticipate continued sales growth from the region."

He added Unifi will no longer provide quarterly or yearly earnings forecasts so it can focus more on long-term goals.