US activewear maker Delta Apparel says it is positioned for growth after narrowing its first quarter loss on a double-digit jump in sales.

In its first-quarter trading update, the company reported a net loss of US$1.2m for the three months to 29 December, an improvement over the prior year first quarter's loss of $10m. 

Net sales in the period, meanwhile, totalled $101.7m, up 12.5% from $90.3m in the prior year first quarter. Net sales in the Delta Group, which is comprised of the company's DTG2Go digital print business, Delta Activewear business and Soffe brand, increased 12.5%. While those in the Salt Life Group, which is comprised of the Salt Life and Coast lifestyle brands, climbed by 13.5%.

Gross margin improved 20 basis points to 18.3% compared to 18.1% in the prior year period.

"Our team delivered a strong start to the new fiscal year and we are pleased with the wide-ranging performance we saw across our business during the first quarter, including double-digit sales growth in both our Delta Group and Salt Life Group segments," says CEO Robert Humphreys. "The continuing expansion of our digital print business, DTG2Go, which grew over 250% during the quarter, and double-digit sales growth in our Salt Life lifestyle brand were key drivers in our results.

"We believe we are well-positioned for more growth as we look to further capitalise on our industry-leading position in the digital print space, leverage our vertical manufacturing platform and increase consumer awareness of our Salt Life lifestyle brand through new product categories as well as growth with national and regional retailers and our own direct-to-consumer channels. This is an exciting time for Delta Apparel and we are extremely optimistic about our prospects going forward."