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Textile maker Unifi Inc. reported Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter 2010 sales were up 13.1 percent.

Greensboro-based Unifi (NYSE: UFI), which makes multifilament polyester and nylon textured yarns, said its sales in the second quarter, which ended Dec. 27, reached $142.3 million, an increase the company attributed to improved retail sales and increased market share.

Unifi also reported second quarter earnings of $2 million, or 3 cents per share, up from a net loss of $9.1 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier. It also reported having $54.4 million in cash-on-hand at the end of the quarter.

The company also reported that its wholly-owned subsidiary in China, UTSC, reached profitability during the second quarter.

"With the gradual improvement of the economy, we are encouraged by the demand levels we are seeing and the resurgence in the number of development programs using our premium value-added yarns, particularly our Repreve recycled product," said Bill Jasper, president and CEO of Unifi, in a statement. "In addition, progress continues on our Central American operation, and we expect to begin shipping locally produced yarn in Central America during the June quarter."

The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

For the first sixth months of fiscal year 2010, Unifi reported earnings for $4.4 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $9.7 million, or 16 cents per share, in the first half of fiscal 2009. Sales declined 3.3 percent, to $285.1 million.

"Compared to a year ago, the company's substantial margin improvement was driven by significantly better volumes, resulting in higher utilization rates, as well as the company's continuous improvement efforts focused on quality, operating efficiencies and cost structures," said Ron Smith, Unifi's chief financial officer, in a statement. "We do see an upward trend in polyester raw material costs over the next two quarters, which may put some pressure on margins, but we are optimistic as a result of the improving demand and our ability to recover such cost increases over the long-run."

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