Oklahoma-based upscale clothing chain Harold's Stores Inc on Thursday posted a lower second quarter loss and said it had enjoyed a 9.4 per cent jump in same-store sales.

The operator of more than 40 stores reported a net loss of loss of $ 2.2 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with a loss of $6.2m, or $1.05 a share, in the year-ago period.

Sales for the 13 weeks ended August 2 were flat at $19.6m but its gross margin surged to 29.8 per cent from 12.2 per cent last year thanks to strong demand for full priced merchandise.

CEO Clark Hinkley said: "We are very pleased with our second quarter sales and continuing improvement in our financial performance. Our efforts to increase sales, reduce corporate overhead, control expenses and close unprofitable store locations are clearly beginning to pay dividends.

"Our customers responded favorably to our spring and summer merchandise assortments, and early responses to our fall merchandise are even more exciting.

"Our inventory levels are in line with our plans and current sales trends. We are very excited about our business prospects in the last half of this year."