Up-for-sale retailer Charlotte Russe Holding has swung to a second quarter loss of US$0.8m, compared to a profit of $4.2m for the same period last year.

The company's second quarter sales increased 3.3% to $191.2m, from $185.1m last time, while same-store sales fell 8.0%.

Quarterly charges of $1.5m were booked for expenses related to proxy solicitation, management transition and severance, as well as costs related to a review of strategic alternatives, it said.

At quarter-end, comparable store inventories were down 18.4%. The company opened one new store during the period.

"Our results for the second quarter reflect our aggressive actions to reduce inventories, limit our promotional activity and lower expenses," said John D Goodman, chief executive officer.

"This drove better than anticipated gross margin performance and resulted in non-GAAP diluted earnings per share significantly above our previous financial guidance."

For the third quarter the company expects same-store sales to be in the negative low-single to positive low-single digit range versus a same-store sales decline of 6.5% in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Last week the company said it was "encouraged" by sale talks, having put itself up for sale in March following a review of its strategic alternatives.