Luxury fashion group Escada expects to post a bigger loss for the 2007/8 fiscal year after unveiling a sales decline of 15.1% and a slump in EBITDA.

The company is still assessing its final net loss for the year ended 31 October, but said it would exceed the previous year's loss of EUR27.3m (US$40m).

Sales fell 15.1% to EUR582.5m, reflecting the "continuously worsening conditions for luxury fashion" during the year, said Escada.

Fourth quarter revenues slumped 17.7% on last year's figures.

Gross profit margin was fractionally higher than last year at 63.8%, but EBITDA plummeted to EUR19.7m from EUR68.2m in the prior year.

The company's core Escada brand recorded a 15.7% fall in sales to EUR388.7m, and EBITDA of EUR18m, compared to EUR49.1m the year before.

The Primera business unit - which the company recently announced will be sold - saw sales fall 14.6% to EUR211.5m, with EBITDA dwindling to EUR1.7m from EUR20.1m.

"Escada's re-orientation takes place in a difficult market environment," said CEO Bruno Sälzer. "Both customers and commercial partners are buying very reluctantly at the moment.

"Nonetheless, the market has reacted positively to the first signals of our group's re-orientation in its fashion statement, the handling of the markets and the full operative business process."