Women's wear retailer Etam has reported a 6% drop in like-for-like third quarter sales, with a sharp jump in demand in China offset by a slowdown in Europe.

Group sales for the quarter were EUR234.2m (US$348.3m), up 2.1% year-on-year including gain of EUR3.1m from favourable exchange rates.

European sales for the three months to 30 September fell 8.7% to EUR169.2m, and were down 11.5% on a like-for-like basis.

Etam said that not only had the autumn/winter season begun under unfavourable economic conditions, but sales were also hit by exceptionally mild weather.

In China, however, sales jumped 47.8% to EUR65.0m, helped by a gain of EUR3.2m from the rise of the yuan against the euro and the opening of 159 new stores during the quarter. Sales were up 39.9% on a like-for-like basis.

The company has 3,709 sales outlets, including 969 in Europe, 2,561 in China and 179 international franchises.

During the first nine months of this year, sales rose 4.9% to EUR733.1m, helped by a currency gain of EUR23.2m. On a like-for-like basis, sales were down 2.9%.