Uniform and workwear maker Superior Uniform Group has swung to a fourth quarter loss as customers cut their workforces and put off buying new uniforms.

For the three months to 31 December, net loss was $822,015 or $0.13 per share, compared to a profit of $547,318 or $0.08 per share a year earlier. This year's results included a goodwill impairment loss of $1.62m.

The fourth quarter "was considerably below our budgets and erased much of the sales gains from the stellar performance of the first three quarters of the year," said CEO Michael Benstock.

For the year, net earnings fell 16.5% to $2.13m or $0.33 per share, from $2.55m or $0.38 per share the year before.

Annual sales were up 2.7% to $123.75m from $120.46m in the prior year.

Looking ahead, Superior Uniform said that although 2009 is "expected to be a very challenging year," it is talking with more potential new customers than last year.

It has also started a new business unit called The Office Gurus in El Salvador selling call centre/contact centre functions to other companies.