Charming Shoppes Inc is to explore strategic options for its non-core misses apparel catalogue titles so that it can focus on its core Lane Bryant, Catherines and Fashion Bug brands.

The women's plus-size apparel retailer on Friday (25 April) said it had already received a number of inquiries and is "evaluating several alternatives."

The company has retained Banc of America Securities and Lehman Brothers as its financial advisors in connection with this process.

Dorrit J Bern, chairman, chief executive officer and president said: "Our core plus apparel brands possess leading market positions and strong long-term growth opportunities, and we will continue to utilise our direct-to-consumer infrastructure to further develop these core brands.

Bern also said the company plans to lower its capital expenditures budget by $20m during the current fiscal year by slashing spending on its store and non-critical infrastructure.

The cuts come on top of the $63m reduction in capital spending intended for fiscal 2008 and a reduction of $43m planned for fiscal 2009.

In March, the retailer swung to a full-year loss of $87.7m following one-time charges and a decline in gross margins. The previous year it had posted a profit of $108.9m.

Net sales for the year fell 2% to $3.01bn.

Charming Shoppes is also in the process of shuttering 150 loss-making stores, including 100 Fashion Bug outlets and its Petite Sophisticate concept.

The company currently operates 2,409 retail stores under the names Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Fashion Bug Plus, Catherines Plus Sizes, Lane Bryant Outlet, Petite Sophisticate and Petite Sophisticate Outlet.