The continuing decline of its Big Dogs business pushed Big Dog Holdings to a second quarter net loss, but the company says its core division The Walking Company (TWC) remains strong.

The Santa Barbara, California-based marketer of casual and active apparel and accessories posted a net loss of $188,000 for the quarter ended 30 June, down from a profit of $641,000 in the same period last year.

Net loss per share was $0.02 compared with $0.06 net income per share for the comparable quarter in 2006.

For the quarterly period, consolidated net sales rose 5% to $55.9m from $53.2m in the second quarter of 2006, primarily due to the addition of 27 new TWC stores.

Same-store sales increased 2.3% for the quarter, while total consolidated gross profit was 54.6% of sales or $30.5m in the second quarter 2007, as compared with 55.3% of net sales or $29.4m in the second quarter 2006.

Big Dog Holdings CEO Andrew Feshbach said: "Aside from the first two weeks in April where retail sales were soft in general and across the country, we continued our trend of strong single digit comps for the remainder of the quarter.

"However, our earnings per share for the quarter reflect, among other things, the continued decrease of our Big Dogs' business.

"Our Big Dogs outlet business continues to experience negative sales trends and we are maintaining a sharp focus on reducing commitments.

"We opened 13 TWC stores year-to-date and are scheduled to open approximately 30 additional stores in 2007. Our core TWC stores remain strong and our Steve's Shoes acquisition stores operating performance has improved and is on plan."

The company had a total of 302 stores opened by the end of the period, as compared with 294 stores at the same time last year.