Higher cotton costs and weaker market demand ate into first-quarter profit at Fruit of the Loom rival Gildan Activewear Inc.

The Montreal-based clothing maker said it earned C$2.8 million ($1.8 million), or 10 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended 30 December, down from C$7.7 million, or 26 Canadian cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Sales of the company's T-shirts, golf shirts and sweatshirts improved to C$88.3 million from C$86.1 million, the company said in a statement.