Retailer Bakers Footwear Group Inc has narrowed its second quarter loss after posting higher sales and stronger margins.

Net loss for the 13 weeks to 2 August was $2.3m or $0.32 per share, compared to a loss of $8.7m, or $1.35 per share in the same period last year.

The company, which sells fashion footwear for young women through its 241 stores, said sales rose 3.2% to $43.6m, up from $42.0m last time, and that same-store sales increased 6.4%.

Peter Edison, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We attribute our improvement during a difficult operating environment to our ability to deliver great fashion while maintaining stringent control of expenses and inventory."

Gross profit in the quarter was $12.9m, or 29.6% of sales, up from $9.3m , or 22.1% of sales last time.

Operating loss was $1.4m, compared to $7.1m in the second quarter last year.

The company is confident its positive performance will continue, with Mr Edison pointing out that "early fall trends remain solid, with August comparable store sales up 3.2%, despite eliminating a major catalogue in the month."