Weak apparel sales and cheap imports saw textiles manufacturer Galey & Lord Inc post a wider fourth-quarter loss from last year and force it to issue a warning that it does not see an end to its business downturn in the current quarter.

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based firm reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $71.3 million, or $5.94 per common share, compared with a net loss of $40.1m, or $3.35 per common share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Excluding charges, the company reported a net loss of $5.1m, or 42 cents per common share, compared with net income of $1.4m, or 12 cents per common share, last year. Sales fell 27.5 per cent to $176.4m from a year ago.

Though volume in the current quarter will be "abnormally low," Galey & Lord said it expects some improvement in operating income. It also has sufficient liquidity and expects to remain in compliance with all of its lenders' covenants in the current quarter.

However, in a statement the company said that due to the current economy and lack of visibility in the apparel market, it has hired investment bank Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin to evaluate its strategic alternatives.