Apparel maker Movie Star has sunk to a first-quarter loss of $371,000, despite recording a quarterly sales increase of 6.3 per cent.

The net loss compared to a loss of $230,000 in the same period last year, while net sales totalled $13.6m compared with $12.8m a year ago.

Movie Star attributed the widened loss to extra costs because of hurricane Katrina, a less successful product mix and increased markdowns.

President and chief executive officer Mel Knigin said: "As stated in a previous news release, the hurricane forced us to close major distribution center from 29 August to 6 September and operate with a reduced staff through the middle of October."

"For the second quarter of fiscal 2006, sales will be lower than the same period last year."

Movie Star Inc produces and sells ladies apparel, including sleepwear, robes, leisurewear, and daywear.