NEW YORK–WestPoint International, the home-textiles unit of Icahn Enterprises, cut its fourth-quarter operating loss by 9.1 percent, to $30 million.
The company accomplished this in spite of a nearly 30 percent drop in sales for the quarter, to $107 million. According to an Icahn statement, WestPoint managed to boost its gross margin for the quarter from $1 million in 2007 to $6 million in 2008, achieving this through its ongoing shift in manufacturing from the United States to lower-cost countries. In addition, the company said selling, general and administrative expenses were down in the fourth quarter versus the prior year.
For the full 2008 fiscal year, WestPoint posted an operating loss of $95 million, down 40.3 percent from fiscal 2007. Sales fell 37.8 percent to $425 million, due to “adverse competitive conditions for U.S. manufacturing facilities compared to manufacturing facilities located outside of the United States” and the growth of low-priced imports of textiles products and “a difficult retail market,” according to an Icahn filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.