CHICOPEE, Mass. (May 18)—Spalding Holdings Corp., the parent of Spalding Sports Worldwide Inc., recorded a net earnings loss of $5.7 million in the first quarter ended April 1. That was a slight improvement from the $6.1 million loss in the first quarter of 1999. Sales for the period fell 8.6 percent to $107 million from $117 million. The sales decrease was partially the result of the elimination of low-margin product lines, the company said. Income from operations jumped 13 percent to $6.7 million spurred by Spalding´s strategic shift to focus on high-quality golf and sporting goods products, according to the company. The firm´s gross profit increased 8 percent to $53.3 million.