I'm joined here today by Glenn Chamandy, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Laurence Sellyn, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial & Administrative Officer.Before Laurence takes you through the results, I would like to remind everyone that certain statements included in this conference call may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve unknown and known risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. We refer you to the company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian Securities Regulatory Authority that may affect the company's future results. I would now like to turn the call over to Laurence. Laurence G. Sellyn Good morning. Today, we reported results for our Q4 and the full year, which were in line with our August guidance and initiated guidance for fiscal 2012. We are forecasting a loss of approximately $0.40 per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, which will be only the second quarterly loss in our history as a public company followed by an anticipated gradual strengthening in our results during the balance of the year due to assumed significantly lower cotton cost in the second half of the fiscal year as well as increased manufacturing efficiencies. Due to the loss in the first quarter, EPS is currently expected to be approximately $1.30 in fiscal 2012. Adjusted net earnings for the fourth quarter were $0.42 per share compared to $0.48 per share in the fourth quarter of last year and our guidance provided in August of approximately $0.40 per share. Adjusted EPS for the full fiscal year was $2.01, up 20% from fiscal 2010. The decline in EPS in the fourth quarter compared to the fourth quarter of last year was primarily due to the significant increase in the cost of cotton, which was not fully recovered in higher net selling prices, lower unit sales volumes for activewear and the non-recurrence of insurance proceeds and the cotton subsidy received in the fourth quarter of last year.
We maintained our market share in the U.S. distributor channel at 62.3%, essentially the same as last year. The lower unit sales volumes for activewear were due to a 6.3% reduction in shipments from U.S. distributors to U.S. screenprinters and inventory destocking.These negative factors were partially offset by the impact of income tax recoveries in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, growth in international screenprint shipments, more favorable activewear product mix and the earnings accretion from the acquisition of Gold Toe Moretz. Compared to the assumptions in our August guidance, the unfavorable impact of weaker screenprint demand and increased promotional discounting in the wholesale distributor channel at the end of the quarter and lower-than-forecast sock manufacturing efficiency was more than offset by the later than anticipated timing of destocking of manufacturer inventories by wholesale distributors, which is now occurring in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and the benefit of income tax recoveries. Weak demand and increasing competitive pricing pressure in the screenprint markets have continued into the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Shipments from U.S. distributors to U.S. screenprinters declined by 6.2% in October. Distributors have been anticipating a reduction in gross selling prices and have been uncertain whether the benefit of any such price decrease will be applied to previously purchased inventories. Consequently, they have not replenished inventories, which have been reduced in the first quarter in order to supply screenprinter demand. The significant destocking of distributor inventories in the first quarter has resulted in excess inventories building up at the manufacturer level and to further discounting in order to try to maintain capacity utilization and capital intensive-producing mills. This promotional discounting is taking place at the same time that all manufacturers are now consuming inventories produced with high-cost cotton. Although Gildan is no longer constrained by lack of capacity and is maintaining a high market share, the combination of weak end-use demand and distributor destocking is projected to result in an approximate 40% decline in Gildan's unit sales volumes in the screenprint market in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
As a market leader, Gildan has taken the following actions: One, in order to enable distributors to better plan their business and stimulate end-use demand for Gildan products, we've announced yesterday that we are lowering gross selling prices in the U.S. distributor channel and that we will apply the benefits of the selling price reduction to existing distributor inventories at the effective date of the price decrease. The special distributor devaluation is expected to impact EPS in the first quarter by approximately $0.16 per share.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com