Upmarket US retailer Harold's Stores has reported losses of US$6m for the 12 months to January 28 after a "very disappointing" year.

The figures reflect a poor performance in the fourth quarter of 2005 for the company, when it recorded a loss of US$4m, including US$700,000 in non-recurring expenses.

Net sales for the fiscal year were US$88.2m, down from US$89.3m for the same period in the previous year. Comparable store sales were down 4%, with full-line retail stores dropping 4.3% and outlet stores down 4.8%. However, direct sales (internet and catalogue) stood at US$3.2m, nearly three times the levels of a year ago.

"The year 2005 was very disappointing for the company, as customers did not respond favourably to our apparel offerings," said interim chief executive Leonard Snyder.

"That, coupled with a decision early in 2005 to alter the timing and quantity of fall, winter and holiday receipts, resulted in the company not having proper quantities of gift-giving and wear-now merchandise during the all-important fourth quarter."

Snyder added that consumers had responded favourably to early spring fashions this year, although February had been a difficult month. He was "cautiously optimistic" of a good March.