Apparel group Oxford Industries is planning to cut employment costs and capital spending after the company's third quarter profit plummeted 65% to US$4.8m.

Sales in the period ended 1 November dropped 14.7% to $244.2m, while earnings per share were $0.31, compared to $0.76 in the same period last year.

However, the company said $0.07 of this was accounted for by restructuring and other charges.

For the first nine months of the year, sales fell 9.2% to $747.6m, while earnings per share plunged to $1.00 from $2.20.

Oxford's Tommy Bahama brand saw its sales fall 18.7% to $83.7m in the third quarter, while Ben Sherman was down 18.2% to $38.2m.

Lanier Clothes revenues dropped 16.3% to $44.3m, and Oxford Apparel was down 6.2% to $78.1m.

"Obviously we are disappointed with our absolute results for the third quarter," said J Hicks Lanier, Oxford Industries chairman and CEO.

"However, we believe we managed the business well, given what are indisputably the worst market conditions in decades."

Lanier pointed to a 30% year-on-year reduction in inventories, and said cost-cutting actions would reduce annualised employment costs by more than $18m.

Meanwhile, capital expenditure had been reduced to less than $10m in 2009, compared to $22m in 2008.