Gross profit margins were 17.7 percent in the current year quarter compared to 18.5 percent in the prior year quarter. The reduction in gross profit margin in the current year quarter were impacted by a less favorable product sales mix, an unfavorable Mexico Peso to U.S. Dollar exchange rate affecting our operations in Mexico, and higher expense provision for our frozen defined benefit pension plan. These negative items were partially offset by the benefits of higher production volumes and a lower provision for bonuses earned under our incentive bonus plans.
Normal operating expenses (excluding the $2.1 million settlement charge) as a percent of net sales in the current year quarter decreased to 10.7% from 12.3% in comparison to the prior year quarter. The major contributor to the decrease was a lower provision for our incentive bonuses.
STRATTEC is a partner in VAST LLC, a global alliance of companies involved in the design and manufacture of automotive access products. As reported in our prior earnings releases, VAST's operations in China incurred start-up costs associated with a new product line. We anticipate these start-up costs and the resulting losses to continue over the remainder of the current fiscal year.
Included in Other (Expense) Income in the current year quarter compared to the prior year quarter were the following items (in thousands of dollars):
|March 31,||April 1,|
|Foreign Currency Transaction Loss||($987)||($698)|
|Net Realized and Unrealized Gain on Mexican Peso Option Contracts||77||1,126|
|Rabbi Trust Gain||103||161|