Luxury women's fashion brand Escada AG today (23 September) said it expects its full-year loss to be in line with last year's results after third quarter sales fell 14.3%.

The Munich-based company narrowed its quarterly loss to EUR11.3m (US$16.7m) from a loss of EUR13.4m in the same period last year, but said sales tumbled to EUR134.6m from EUR157.0m.

Sales at the upmarket Escada unit fell 16.4% to EUR91.6m, while the mid-price Primera business, whose labels include Apriori, BiBA, Cavita and Laurèl, saw revenues drop 9.3% to EUR47.9m.

For the nine-month period from November to July, losses widened to EUR19.5m from EUR4.1m in the prior-year period.

Group sales were down 14.1% to EUR430.4m from EUR501.3m, with the company saying: "The women's fashion segment is particularly hard hit by rising commodity and energy costs and the crisis on the international financial markets."

Escada nine-month sales fell 14.7% to EUR290.1m, and Primera sales dropped 13.1% to EUR155.3m.

Bruno Sälzer, CEO of Escada AG, said the figures "clearly show the need for action at Escada."

The company is trying to reorganise its business by making its products more fashionable but says the industry's long lead times mean the results will not start to show until autumn/winter 2009.

"These are the collections we are currently working on, and they will be reflected in the operative figures of the second half of fiscal year 2008/2009," said Sälzer, the former CEO of Hugo Boss who was hired from in June to help drive the turnaround.

In its outlook for the full fiscal year, Escada group sales are set to continue to fall, with consolidated EBITDA likely to be EUR23-26m. Losses are forecast to be in line with last year's loss of EUR27.4m.