Clothing retailer Charming Shoppes has posted third quarter profit of $2.2 million, after a loss of $292,000 in the same period last year.

The Pennsylvania-based company, which operates 2257 stores across the United States, attributed the upturn to improved profit margins and better-than-expected cost reductions.

Sales for the quarter, however, fell two per cent year-on-year to $530.3m, while same-store sales remained flat.

"Although our results for the third quarter included negative comparable store sales results at Lane Bryant, we have seen improvement, quarter over quarter, and remain focused on continuing our progress in merchandise assortments," CEO Dorrit Bern said.

The company trades under store names Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Fashion Bug Plus and Catherine's Plus Sizes.