Clothing supplier Tarrant Apparel has reported a 17% increase in second-quarter sales, but admitted net income was down in the period.

Sales totalled US$59.1m compared to $50.5m last year but income dropped to $611,000 from $871,000 a year ago.

Sales of private label brands were $47.6m compared to $39.1m last year while private brand sales were $11.4m, static from the year before.

For the first six months of 2005, net income was $1.4m compared to $765,000 previously while net sales were up 26.2% to $120.3m from $95.4m.

"The second-quarter results reflected solid growth in sales, combined with improved margins and a significantly improved balance sheet," said Gerard Guez, chairman and interim CEO of Tarrant.

"Our private-label business continues to grow with most of our existing customers, and we are beginning to ramp up sales with new customers based on performance of earlier shipments of newly developed programs," added Guez.

He added: "While we are pleased with the continued margin improvement, we believe that our product offerings are getting stronger, and that our design and development are hitting the growing needs of our customers for product that is unique in their assortments which will allow us to improve our margins further."