Delta Apparel, Inc. (PPAI 188431, S8) has released financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2022, which ended January 1. The Duluth, Georgia-based supplier reports net sales of $110.7 million in the quarter, up 17% from the previous year’s first quarter net sales of $94.7 million.

“We delivered strong first quarter results that not only exceeded our expectations but reached a first quarter record for our company with sales surpassing $110 million,” says Robert W. Humphreys, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Our bottom line results were also impressive as we registered EPS [earnings per share] growth of nearly 300%.”

Humphreys says the fast start to the new fiscal year reflected broad-based performance across both the Delta and Salt Life business segments. The company’s vertically integrated supply chain and on-demand digital print platform drove significant growth in the Delta Group segment, according to a statement.

“Salt Life’s expanding direct-to-consumer business combined with record wholesale shipments to our retail partners sets the stage for another year of significant organic growth for Delta Apparel,” Humphreys says.

Net sales in the Delta Group segment grew 16% to $101.9 million compared to $87.6 million in the first fiscal quarter of the prior year. The Salt Life segment’s net sales grew 24% from the first quarter of the prior year to $8.8 million.

Humphreys says, “Our manufacturing output continues to reach record levels and we remain on track to bring additional capacity online during the second half of 2022 to meet our customers’ demand. Momentum for our Salt Life business has never been stronger. After building this business for over a decade, we are very excited to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business with the planned opening of at least seven new Salt Life branded retail stores in 2022.”

Delta Apparel’s gross margins for the fiscal first quarter were 20.8%, contracting 60 basis points from 21.4% in the prior year, which the company says is in line with its expectations and largely driven by the pressure of inflationary costs in its manufacturing operations.

The supplier’s operating income increased to $5.9 million, or 5.3% of sales, compared to the prior year first quarter profit of $3.1 million, or 3.3% of sales.

“I remain incredibly proud of our entire organization for their unwavering dedication to servicing our customers each and every day,” Humphreys says. “We are off to an excellent start in the new fiscal year and we continue to believe our solid financial position and strong cash flows will allow us to fund our growth initiatives while also providing liquidity for other actions to increase shareholder value.”