Athletic and sporting goods company Russell has lowered its full-year profit and sales predictions and said it will take aggressive action in early 2006 to boost its earnings.

Russell now expects 2005 sales of between US$1.425bn and $1.445bn. The company gave no new earnings guidance. It had previously slashed its earnings forecast to  $1.25 to $1.35 per share.

The revisions for 2005 are primarily the result of lower-than-anticipated sales at retail and extra expenses to expedite orders associated with supply issues.

Sales shortfalls are most notable in Russell Athletic, Mossy Oak and the Spalding Group. Results are also being impacted by a shift toward more promotional products.

Russell said it would focus on substantially improving ongoing profit at the start of next year and on making Russell a stronger, more competitive company.

Chairman and chief executive Jack Ward said: "While we are extremely disappointed in our recent performance, we are encouraged by our improved prospects for 2006.

"We are pleased with consumer acceptance of many new Russell products such as our technical running products from Brooks, performance apparel such as Dri-Power, more innovative sporting goods products, including Spalding's NeverFlat basketball, and the continued growth of the JERZEES brand in the Artwear channel."

Russell markets athletic apparel, uniforms, footwear and equipment for a wide variety of sports and outdoor and fitness activities.