Feb 22, 2013 21:53 Crown Crafts posts higher earnings Crown Crafts posts higher earnings Advocate staff report Feb. 22, 2013 Comments Crown Crafts Inc. reported net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 was $1.6 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with net income of $1.5 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier. Net sales totaled $20.1 million compared to $21.6 million a year earlier. Gross margin improved to 26.3 percent of sales for the quarter, compared with 24.2 percent for the prior-year period, the Gonzales-based infant apparel and accessories maker said. Net income for the first nine months of fiscal 2013 was $3.3 million, or 33 cents per share, on net sales of $54.8 million, compared with net income of $3.1 million, or 32 cents per share, on net sales of $60.5 million a year ago. Gross margin improved to 24.9 percent of sales for the first nine months, compared with 22.8 percent for the prior-year period. “Despite a decline in sales, our net income and gross margin improved for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 2013 compared with the same periods for the previous year. We also ended the quarter with no debt on our books,” said E. Randall Chestnut, chairman, president and chief executive officer. Chestnut said sales were impacted by a previously announced discontinuance of an unprofitable private label infant bedding program. That accounted for slightly less than half of the sales decline in the quarter and nine-month periods. Sales also were affected by the continuing sluggishness in the economy, which prompted retailers to maintain tight control over their inventories, he said.