Maternity wear company Mothers Work said better sales pushed up third-quarter profit to US$8.8m from $5.5m the same time last year.

Quarterly net sales rose 7.3% to $163.9m from $152.7m a year ago, mainly driven by higher same-store sales, which were up 6.4%. The company also enjoyed better internet sales and sales growth from its licensing deal with Kohl's.

President and COO Rebecca Matthias said: "We believe that the oversupply conditions that plagued the maternity apparel business during our fiscal 2004 and 2005 have eased, and we believe that our strong sales trend during fiscal 2006 reflects this.

"We also believe the strength of our product lines helped our sales performance, particularly in the spring/summer selling season.

"We are optimistic about delivering significantly improved financial results for fiscal 2006, as we expect to see a continuation of our improved sales and gross margin trends and expect to realise increased earnings contribution from our new strategic initiatives, including increased contribution from our marketing partnerships, a full year contribution from our Sears and Kohl's initiatives, and the continued rollout of our multi-brand stores."