Upscale fashion chain Harold's Stores Inc on Friday announced the return of the Harold's brand to the direct channel.

The Texas-based operator of 39 full-line upscale ladies' and men's specialty stores and three outlets last month released its first direct response catalogue since the spring edition of March 2001.

"We felt at the time that we needed to get back to the basics of the Harold's brand," said CEO Clark Hinkley in a statement. "We put all of our energies into the look of the product, its quality, fit and our relationship with our retail store customers.

"We saw the direct channels of catalogue and e-commerce as distractions to the work we had ahead of us. After two hard years of work, I am pleased that the efforts of our team are paying off. August just completed our seventh month of comparable store sales increases."

The 55-year-old retailer also upgraded to the CommercialWare catalogue software and fulfillment system to support the re-launch of the direct business and upgraded its web site operating platforms.