Tropical Sportswear announced financial results for its third quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2001.

Net sales for the third quarter ended June 30, 2001 were $107.3m compared with $123.0m for the same period last year. On a constant currency basis, net sales for the third quarter ended June 30, 2001 were $108.1m.

Net income before special items for the fiscal 2001 third quarter was $1.8m and $0.23 per diluted share, compared with $5.7m and $0.74 per diluted share for the third quarter of last year.

On June 13, 2001, the company reported that it expected net sales for the fiscal 2001 third quarter and full year to be approximately $105m and $440m, respectively, and net income before special items to be approximately $1.7m and $14.0m, respectively, due to sluggish consumer demand for retail apparel products and resulting pricing pressure from retail customers.

At that time, the company also announced the elimination of approximately 160 positions in the US and overseas resulting in a third quarter after-tax severance charge of approximately $360,000, or $0.05 per diluted share. Including the severance charge, diluted earnings per share for the fiscal 2001 third quarter were $0.18.

Principally due to lower sales volume and market pricing pressure, gross margin for the third quarter ended June 30, 2001 was 26.6 per cent compared with 29.3 per cent for the same period last year. Operating income as a percentage of net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2001 was 6.4 per cent before special items and 5.9 per cent including special items, compared with 11.6 per cent for the same period last year.

William W. Compton, chairman and CEO, commented: "As we had anticipated, the challenging retail conditions impacted our results this quarter. Apparel sales at retail have been sluggish as consumers continue to react to difficult economic conditions. However, our operating blueprint enables us to respond effectively to changing market conditions and make the necessary adjustments to maintain our competitive position and long-term profitability."

Net sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 were $329.4m ($332.6m on a constant currency basis) compared with $348.9m for the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 were $1.39 compared with $1.80 for the same period last year, excluding the effects of previously announced special items of $0.22 per diluted share this year and $0.08 per diluted share in the prior year. Including the special items, diluted earnings per share were $1.17 for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 and $1.73 in the same period last year.

Gross margin for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 was 28.3 per cent compared with 29.5 per cent for the same period last year. Excluding special items, operating income as a percentage of net sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 was 9.2 per cent compared with 10.8 per cent for the same period last year. Including the special items, operating income as a percentage of net sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2001 was 8.3 per cent compared with 10.5 per cent for the same period last year.