Tarrant Apparel Group, a provider of private label casual apparel, today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001.

Net sales for the first quarter of 2001 increased four per cent to approximately $84.3m, compared to $81.4m in the fourth quarter of 2000. On a year-on-year basis, first quarter net sales decreased $18.1m from $102.4m. Total SG&A expenses for the first quarter of 2001 were $13.5m, or 16 per cent of net sales, compared to $17.9m, or 22 per cent of net sales, in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Operating income increased to approximately $891,000 versus a loss of $12.5m in the prior quarter. The company reported net earnings of approximately $446,000, or $0.03 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $7.8m, or $0.49 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2000, and net earnings of $1.9m or $0.12 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2000.

Gerard Guez, chairman and CEO of Tarrant Apparel Group, said: "We're very excited about our first quarter results. The first quarter is traditionally our weakest quarter, and while the actual profit dollars are not significant, it is important to note that the aggressive programmes and initiatives implemented last year have successfully lowered our cost of doing business, enabling us to generate a profit at this sales level. It is a key indicator that we have turned the corner."

"We believe that as consumer spending accelerates, we are well-positioned for growth through our global sourcing network and our vertically integrated supply chain. We have already seen a strengthening of order activity, and feel confident in our ability to produce quality products with acceptable lead times. As sales levels begin to increase, our demonstrated efficiencies should produce continued improvements in our financial results."