UPDATE 2-Gildan profit rises on higher printwear sales volume

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:20am EST
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* Forecasts quarterly earnings above Wall Street estimate

* Benefits from lower cotton costs

* Raises dividend 20 percent to $0.09 a share

* Shares up nearly 3 percent

Nov 29 (Reuters) - Canadian clothing maker Gildan Activewear Inc reported an 84 percent jump in quarterly profit on Thursday, raised its dividend and forecast current-quarter earnings above analysts' expectations, sending its shares up nearly 3 percent.

Gildan said earnings in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 were boosted in part by lower cotton costs and higher sales of printwear, clothing on which other manufacturers print their own designs.

The company said it expected first-quarter earnings of 28 cents to 31 cents per share before special items. That is above the analysts' average estimate of 25 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Gildan, which also manufactures private-label and branded apparel, forecast net sales in excess of $400 million for the current quarter.

The company has been shifting its focus away from private-label goods and is making a "significant investment" in marketing its own brands, which include Gildan and Gold Toe. It also holds the U.S. sock licenses for Under Armour Inc and New Balance.   Continued...