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WPS lowers loss 66 percent

WestPoint, Ga. — Putting behind it a $46.3 million one-time charge that dogged the bottom line a year ago, WestPoint Stevens, working its way through Chapter 11, narrowed its second-quarter loss 66.7 percent, to $24 million from $72 million last year.

More than 70 percent of the quarter's loss, a total of $17.4 million stems from various bankruptcy-related items, including $8.4 million in lawyer's fees and other bankruptcy costs and $9 million in various restructuring charges.

Sales improved 4.7 percent in a notably weak period for most U.S. home fashions producers, rising to $383 million from $365.7 million last year. Driving the gain was a huge 29 percent increase in bath products sales as the major mill picked up business and expanded its market share in towels after the collapse of the former Pillowtex Corp. Acting as a drag, though, sales of bedding products slipped 3 percent, the company said, due to slower sales of accessories. Taking a further bite out of the top line was the shutdown of 20 WestPoint Stevens retail stores and the ongoing liquidation of its United Kingdom operation.

M.L. "Chip" Fontenot, CEO, said the major mill is pushing ahead with its plans to emerge from bankruptcy. "The company is in the final stages of revising its business plan" and continues to negotiate new terms for a final plan of reorganization with its various creditor groups, he said.

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