Leading private label intimate apparel and babywear manufacturer, Delta Galil Industries Ltd, on Wednesday posted a 29 per cent surge in full-year sales for 2001 to $558.8 million, compared to the year-ago period.

The Tel Aviv-based firm, which also makes men's underwear, socks and leisurewear, also revealed a 0.4 per cent rise in fourth quarter sales to $138.3m over the comparable quarter of 2000.

North America accounted for 56 per cent of total sales, Europe for 36 per cent and Israel for eight per cent, while North America accounted for 54 per cent of total fourth quarter sales, Europe for 37 per cent and Israel for nine per cent.

In a news release the company said net profit for 2001 amounted to $11.4m, or $0.60 per share, a fall of 49 per cent and 52 per cent respectively compared to 2000. Net profit for 2001, before non-recurring items, amounted to $14m, or $0.73 per share, a plunge of 38 per cent and 42 per cent respectively compared to 2000.

It added non-recurring items for 2001 mainly included $3.4 million to write off doubtful accounts for bankrupt retailer Kmart, in addition to the closure of a sewing plant.

Arnon Tiberg, Delta's president and CEO noted that sales in 2001 reflect the successful integration of the acquisitions of Inner Secrets and Wundies in the US but also the slowdown in both US and European markets.

Delta chairman, Dov Lautman, revealed the firm is currently in the process of making strategic changes to its organisational structure. "As a result of our explosive sales growth over the past few years and changes in today's dynamic marketplace, Delta needs to reposition itself to improve potential growth with customers," he explained.

"The reorganisation will include a new managerial structure divided geographically, instead of by product category. This change will contribute to building the infrastructure for Delta's future growth by enabling us to answer the complexity and flexibility demanded by today's marketplace and improve operating margins and profitability."

For 2001, North American sales grew 116 per cent to $310.6m compared to $143.9m in 2000, with sales to specialty and department stores climbing eight per cent. Ladies' intimate apparel reached 58 per cent of sales in 2001, compared to 44 per cent in the year prior.

Separately on Wednesday, Delta announced that Lee Chaden has joined its board of directors, replacing Mark McCarville. Chaden is senior vice president of human resources for Sara Lee Corp.