• Q1 net loss widens to US$9m
  • Gross margin narrows to 32.1%
  • Net sales fall 6.5%

US women's wear retailer Bebe Stores has seen its net losses widen in the third quarter, but has booked its first quarter of positive comparable store sales since 2012.

Net loss from continuing operations for the three months ended 4 October was US$9m, from a loss of $7.9m a year earlier.

Gross margin decreased to 32.1% from 36.3% in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Although the company saw sequential improvement from its previous quarter of 2014, the reduction in margin was primarily due to higher planned promotional activity to clear stock.

Net sales dropped 6.5% to $102.2m, primarily as a result of store closures, while comparable store sales increased 0.7%.

CEO Jim Wiggett, said: "We were pleased with the improvement in our results during the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Looking ahead, we will remain focused on enhancing our product offering, merchandising stores by lifestyle, and broadening the Bebe brand appeal, while maintaining a compelling fashion and value equation for our customers.

"In addition, our top priorities remain to drive improved performance in both sales and gross margin, as well as to preserve cash, and we believe we are headed in the right strategic direction to achieve these objectives."