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WestPoint 3Q loss deepens

WEST POINT , Ga. — WestPoint Stevens Inc. yesterday posted a third quarter loss more than four times as high as its third quarter loss one year ago.

The major mill reported a net loss of $52.6 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, with $9 million of the loss attributed to restructuring and related charges as it works its way out of bankruptcy. That compares with its $12.8 million loss from the third quarter of 2003.

The company also registered an operating loss for the quarter of nearly $5.2 million, versus an operating gain from last year of $20.7 million.

In spite of the worsening bottom line, WestPoint's president and CEO, M.L. "Chip" Fontenot, continued to look ahead to a brighter future for the company he leads. Fontenot said, "We have completed our revised business plan and are in final negotiations with our creditors regarding our exit from bankruptcy. We are hopeful this process will be concluded in the first quarter of 2005."

WestPoint's third-quarter sales took a 6.5 percent hit, finishing at $416.1 million. Fontenot said, "The retail environment continued to be challenging for home fashions in the third quarter as retailers experienced slower sales growth in textile home furnishings. Nevertheless, we increased our market share with targeted key accounts and received positive retailer response during our recent fall market."

Fontenot added, "Furthermore, we remain adequately funded with availability under our $300 million debtor-in-possession facility of $146 million at the end of the third quarter."

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