Apparel maker Donnkenny Inc has reported a drop in third quarter net sales to $23.4 million, down from $30.7m in the same period last year.

The company, which designs and manufactures clothing under the Pierre Cardin and Bill Blass labels among others, blamed the downturn on a slow retail environment, competitive price reductions and low consumer confidence.

It did, however, manage to reduce selling, general and administrative expenses to $5.1m for the quarter, down from $5.8m year-on-year, thanks to reductions in distribution, sales, administrative and product-related expenses.

Chairman and CEO Daniel Levy said the company was "clearly disappointed" with its third quarter results, but remained optimistic about its fourth quarter fortunes.

"Both of our acquisitions, Bill Blass Coats and Robyn Meredith, are performing as expected and combined with our continuing expense reduction initiatives, should contribute substantially to our fourth quarter and future performance," he said.

For the nine months to September 30, 2003, Donnkenny posted a net loss of $1.9m.