Shoe and accessories retailer Bakers Footwear Group Inc has nearly halved its third quarter loss, helped by higher sales of its dress shoes, boots and branded athletic products.

For the three months to 1 November, net loss fell to $8.3m or $1.18 per share, from a loss of $15.3m or $2.35 per share a year earlier.

Net sales were up 1.9% to $41.1m from $40.3m last time, and same-store sales climbed 4.5%.

The St Louis-based retailer, which has 241 Bakers and Wild Pair stores, said gross profit rose to $9.0m, or 21.9% of sales, from $3.5m, or 8.7% of sales in the third quarter last year.

Peter Edison, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "As we look ahead, we remain optimistic about our ability to maintain our positive momentum."

He added: "We will continue to maintain our financial discipline and believe we are positioned to report improved operating results for the balance of the year."