Branded and private-label group Delta Apparel has reported more than doubled first-quarter earnings, helped by strong demand in the Soffe and Junkfood businesses.

Delta's first-quarter net income totalled $3.4 million compared to $1.4m last year, on a net sales rise of 11.6 per cent to $60.6m from $54.3m in 2004.

The company attributed the increase to the Junkfood Clothing acquisition as well as  increased sales in all key product areas at Soffe.

President and chief executive officer Robert Humphreys said: "We are in the process of consolidating our West Coast distribution centre and believe the integration of our Delta and Soffe distribution facilities into one larger location will better serve our customers.

"We continue with our cost savings initiatives across the entire company and expect these savings to positively impact our results in the second half of the year."

The active wear apparel segment reported sales of $29.6m for the three months ended 1 October compared to $33.0m last year. Retail-ready apparel sales rose to $31.0m from $21.3m a year ago.

For the second quarter ended 31 December, the company expects sales to be in the range of $54 to $58m and basic earnings to be in the range of $0.26 to $0.30 per share.

For the twelve months ended 1 July 2006, the company continues to expect sales to be in the range of $265 to $275m, and is increasing its expectation of basic earnings to the range of $1.71 to $1.80 per share.

Delta Apparel, along with its wholly owned subsidiaries, M J Soffe and Junkfood Clothing, is a marketer, designer, manufacturer and distributor of branded and private-label apparel.