Leading knitwear manufacturer Delta Apparel Inc on Friday announced record second quarter sales of $30 million, up 23.3 per cent on the year-ago period.

The Georgia-based firm said the sales increase of $5.7m over the prior year quarter was the result of a 38.9 per cent increase in volume, partially offset by a 11.2 per cent decrease in average selling prices.

The company said "sales of basic and heavyweight adult and youth short sleeve tees drove the volume increase for the quarter" to December 28 and added operating income surged almost 70 per cent to $2.1m from $1.2 million in 2001.

Net earnings for the quarter were $1.2m or 3.8 per cent of sales, up $0.5m from the prior year quarter.

President and CEO, Robert Humphreys, said: "We are very excited about the record sales and earnings for the quarter and believe we are well positioned to continue our growth in the second half of our fiscal year.

"We expect to open our new Florida distribution centre later this month and expect it to be fully operational to support our spring selling season.

"During the quarter we introduced our pick/pack program, which allows our customer to order products by the piece or by the dozen, in addition to full case quantities. We believe this will allow us to service a new segment of customers and look forward to growing our business in this area."