Fruit of the Loom, marketer and manufacturer of basic family apparel, today reported operating results for its third quarter. Dennis Bookshester, CEO said: "We have made significant progress in restructuring the operations of the company that will permit us to emerge from bankruptcy. Our third quarter financial results reflect the operational and cost improvements in the first nine months of 2000 versus 1999."

The company reported sales of $396.4m for its third quarter ended September 30, 2000 compared to $480.5m for the third quarter of 1999. Lower sales volume was primarily due to the elimination of non-core businesses (including the company's Gitano jeanswear division) and low volume/unprofitable products, along with a weaker back-to-school selling season and an extremely competitive activewear market. The net loss for the third quarter of 2000 was $16.2m ($.24 per share) compared to a net loss of $166.4m ($2.49 per share) for the third quarter of 1999.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2000, the company reported sales of $1,217.3m compared to $1,368.8m for the corresponding period in 1999. As was the case in the third quarter, lower sales volume was primarily due to the elimination of non-core businesses (including the company's Gitano jeanswear division) and low volume/unprofitable products, along with a weaker back-to-school selling season and an extremely competitive Activewear market. The net loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2000 was $153.9m ($2.30 per share) compared to a net loss of $177.7m ($2.61 per share) for the corresponding period in 1999.

Restructuring Update
Dennis Bookshester, CEO, said: "The company's focus on improving production processes and implementing cost and quality controls has resulted in increased manufacturing efficiencies, improved material utilisation, product quality, reduced manufacturing costs, and improved order fill rates. At the same time, we continue to focus on reducing selling, general and administrative expenses to further improve our cost competitiveness. Selling, general, and administrative expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2000 were approximately $80m lower than the corresponding period in 1999 and, as a percentage of net sales, decreased from 19.5 per cent in 1999 to 15.3 per cent in 2000.

"The company continues to evaluate production capacities and may reduce production capacities in light of potential decreases in future sales demand. Our top priorities include continued reduction of manufacturing and operating costs, maintaining excellent service levels and increasing sales and market share. I am proud of the contributions made by all of Fruit of the Loom's employees to improve the company's performance."