Tarrant Apparel on Wednesday reported strong annual earnings boosted by sales in its private label business, although the final quarter was down.

Tarrant reported fourth quarter net income of $325,000 (1 cent per share), a steep drop from $1.68 million (6 cents) for the same period a year earlier. The company said profit was hurt in the quarter due to lower margins.

The Los Angeles-based company reported sales of $57.3 million, down slightly from $57.4 million from last year.

However, for the year Tarrant reported net income was $1.75 million (6 cents per share), a big improvement from a net loss of $22.2 million (-73 cents) from the same period a year earlier. Sales for the year were also up 5.2 percent to $244 million.

Tarrant said the increase was mainly due to sales to New York & Co. and Seven Licensing, but was offset by decreased sales to Kohl's and Mervyn's.

Shares in Tarrant were up 1.3 percent to $0.61 per share in early trading Wednesday.

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