Delta Apparel, Inc. (PPAI 188431, S9) has released preliminary sales results for its 2021 fiscal first quarter, which ended January 2. The Greenville, South Carolina-based supplier expects overall net sales for its December quarter to be approximately $94 million. It attributes stronger than anticipated sales, resulting in only a slight decline from the $95.9 million achieved in the prior year, to strong order demand coupled with impeccable manufacturing and operational execution at all levels.

Robert W. Humphreys, the company’s chairman and CEO, says, “We are extremely pleased with the top-line results delivered this quarter, particularly considering the notable headwinds presented. We entered October with $31 million, or about 20 percent, less finished goods inventory than a year ago, as our manufacturing operations worked to replenish inventory following a fifteen-week government-mandated shutdown in the June quarter and the robust sales we achieved in the September quarter. Inventory availability was then further hampered by two major hurricanes that hit Central America in October and November. We are pleased to have quickly resumed production after the hurricanes and are now in expansion mode across our manufacturing platform to produce record level outputs.”

The company also reports unforeseen challenges in its DTG2Go digital print business and across its e-commerce sites as major freight carriers limited daily package pickups and unexpectedly shortened the holiday shipping calendar by shifting to an earlier cutoff for guaranteed holiday deliveries.

Humphreys adds, “We have proven over the past year that Delta Apparel is resilient and can successfully navigate the many challenges recently faced by the world. Our better than anticipated sales and operational performance in the December quarter should allow us to achieve positive net income in the first quarter, with sequential improvement in earnings as the year unfolds.”