Speciality ladies' wear retailer Cache narrowed its third quarter net loss to $521,000 from $614,000 for the third quarter last year.

Net sales in the period increased 4.4 per cent to $49.4m, versus $47.3m in last time. Comparable store sales dropped by 2.0 per cent. 

Brian Woolf, Cache's chairman, described the third quarter as "challenging due to temporary store closings and reduced traffic in Florida, and the Southeast generally, as a result of hurricanes; lower quarterly sales than originally anticipated; and increased markdowns taken during the third quarter to reduce dress inventory and clear spring and summer sportswear."
 
For the 39 weeks ended 25 September net sales rose 11 per cent to $168.7 million. Sales were $151.6m in the same period of 2003.

Same-store sales were up 4.0 per cent, and operating income rose 23.0 per cent to $11.3m, from $9.2m in the first nine months of 2003. Earnings per share rose 10.0 per cent.

Cache sells apparel under the Cache and Lillie Rubin brands in the US and Puerto Rico.