Fashion chain French Connection reported a loss in the first six months of the year but said its new clothing lines were now meeting good responses from customers.

The loss of GBP3.6m (US$6.75m), which follows three profit warnings in 18 months, compares with a profit of GBP5.1m during the first half of 2005.

French Connection's six-month turnover was down 6% to GBP111.2m from GBP117.9m a year ago.

Chairman Stephen Marks said: "The challenges we faced during the last financial year have continued to impact trading in the new year.

"It has taken longer than we had hoped to translate the changes we have made in our business into sales growth."

Marks added: "…the strong initial reaction to the new winter collections indicates that our efforts are having an impact.

"We will keep on working to improve our ranges and all operational aspects of our business."

In the three first weeks of the new season, the UK and Europe saw same-store sales grow more than 9%. The company warned that it is too early to assume this will continue.

Wholesale business in North America has enjoyed some good growth while Asian retail joint ventures continue to expand. Total licensing income has fallen, however.