Gildan Activewear has today reported record sales and a sharp rise in profits for 2021, driven by an increase in trade to above pre-pandemic levels in the last six months of the year.

Net sales for the apparel supplier rose by 48% to the record figure of $2,923 million (£2,153 million) in 2021 while adjusted gross profit rose from $306 million (£225 million) in 2020 to $903 million (£665 million) last year.

Gildan reported that the “significant” improvement was due to several factors including a much stronger product mix, lower raw material costs, higher net selling prices and the non-recurrence of Covid-19.

It also benefited from its Back to Basics cost-saving initiatives to restructure the business as well as not having to bear the costs of introducing Back to Basics which impacted Gildan in the first half of 2020.

The group incurred restructuring and acquisition-related costs of $8 million (£5.8 million) in 2021, related mainly to the completion of restructuring and also the acquisition of Frontier Yarns in the fourth quarter.

This compared to restructuring and acquisition-related costs of $48 million (£35.4 million) in 2020, primarily in connection with Back to Basics including the consolidation of manufacturing operations and other initiatives to improve manufacturing.

Gildan also reported results for the last three months of 2021 which saw record sales of $784 million (£578 million), up 14% compared to the same period in 2020 and 19% above the fourth quarter of 2019.

However, its business globally, including blank garments, was still hampered by factors such as lower international shipments and lockdowns in various regions.

Gildan’s president and CEO, Glenn J Chamandy, said: “We are pleased with the success of our ‘Back to Basics’ strategy which structurally improved the economics of our business, allowing us to deliver top-tier profitability in 2021 with operating margin performance above our 18% target.

“Today, we stand as a less complex, more competitively advantaged organisation, stronger than we have ever been and well-positioned for sustainable growth.”

The company has now introduced the “Gildan Sustainable Growth” strategy after completing “a comprehensive strategic planning process to define the underlying initiatives to support our next phase of growth”.

Building on the “Back to Basics” initiatives, the new strategy will focus on “reducing complexity and enhancing operational effectiveness and ultimately operating profitability”.

It aims to drive organic top-line and bottom-line growth through capacity expansion, innovation and strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) actions integrated into all aspects of how Gildan does business.

Chamandy added: “I am extremely proud of our team’s performance in 2021 which allowed us to capitalise on improving demand and deliver meaningful benefits from our Back to Basics strategy.

“We ended the year with a strong finish, growing above pre-pandemic levels and setting record results to build on.

“As we look to 2022 and beyond, we are building on our Back to Basics principles and heightening our focus towards the next phase of our journey with our ‘Gildan Sustainable Growth’ plan centred on three key pillars: enabling growth through capacity expansion, innovation and ESG.

“By leveraging our competitive advantage as a low-cost vertically-integrated manufacturer and executing on projected capacity expansion plans, delivering superior quality, value-driven and innovative products to our customers, and leveraging our strong ESG standing, we are confident that we can drive strong organic revenue growth, profitability and effective asset utilisation to deliver strong shareholder value and make meaningful advancements on our ESG priorities.”