Maternity apparel retailer Mothers Work Inc on Tuesday posted an eight per cent year-on-year rise in both third quarter and June sales on the back of a higher store base.

The Philadelphia-based operator of 972 stores said third quarter sales climbed to $132.4 million from $122.6m last year with same-store sales for the quarter down 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent for June.

It added in a statement net sales for the month of June rose to $41.8m from $38.8m in the year-ago period and expects its quarterly earnings to "meet or exceed the high end of our previous range of guidance for diluted earnings per share of between $1.35 and $1.45".

President and COO, Rebecca Matthias, said: "We are pleased with our performance for the month of June, particularly given the difficult retail environment.

"Our comparable store sales decrease of 0.6 per cent for the month would have been approximately three percentage points higher if we did not have one less Saturday in June 2003 (four Saturdays) compared to June 2002 (five Saturdays)."