US nut maker John B. Sanfilippo & Son has seen quarterly losses narrow despite a dip in sales.

The company booked a net loss of US$3.5m for the first quarter of its fiscal 2008, down from $4.8m a year earlier, as margins from sales of nuts including almonds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts grew.

Total sales dipped 0.7% to $132.8m due to "significant declines" in Sanfilippo's industrial and export channels.

"Our gross profit margins improved as a result of our various profitability enhancement efforts, which resulted in improved alignment of our commodity costs with our prices," said CEO Jeffery Sanfilippo.

He said the company would look to stop selling "unprofitable" items on which it is impossible to raise prices.

Sanfilippo, meanwhile, has also looked to refinance the business after failing to comply with the terms of its credit agreement. The company has secured new financing deals, a move that will cost it some $4m.