Specialty retailer of women's plus-size fashions, Charming Shoppes Inc, on Thursday posted a fall in second quarter earnings as soft sales at its Lane Bryant brand hampered the group's performance.

The Pennsylvania-based company reported a profit of $18.6 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ended August 2, compared to a profit of $25.5m, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The operator of 2,240 stores under banners such as Fashion Bug and Catherine's Plus Sizes said net sales for 13 week period fell five per cent to $605.4m from $638.3m last year, with same-store sales down one per cent.

The company reaffirmed its breakeven earnings projection for the current quarter and said it sees negative mid single digit same-store sales in August, and flat same-store sales for the full quarter.

Chairman, CEO and president, Dorrit  Bern, said: "We began to realise the benefits of our cost reduction initiatives, which enabled us to exceed our earnings projections this quarter.

"We were pleased with the operating performance at Fashion Bug and Catherine's Plus Sizes stores. These brands had comparable store sales increases and improvements in the gross margin, year over year.

"However, disappointing performance at our Lane Bryant brand, which continues to be difficult, more than offset our positive performance at Fashion Bug and Catherine's."