Gokaldas Exports Ltd, India's largest garment manufacturer and exporter, has swung to a first quarter loss despite booking a 4% rise in sales during the period.

The company posted a loss of INR177m (US$3.8m) in the quarter, compared with a profit of INR28m last year. Turnover for the three months to 30 June rose to INR2.28bn, from INR2.23bn a year ago.

The company blamed rising raw material costs, higher wages, and a fire which shutdown one of its warehouses leading to longer lead times in procuring fabrics. It also said that while orders are improving, demand is still slow in the US and EU.

Gokaldas Exports, which was taken over by US private equity company Blackstone in 2007, has around 47,000 employees in 46 manufacturing facilities with a capacity of 2.5m garments a month.