Women's ready-to-wear clothing retailer The Etam Group has posted net sales of EUR236.3m for the third quarter, down 0.3% compared with the same period last year.

On a like-for-like basis, sales were down 5.4%, the company said.

In China, sales rose 1.9%, the company said, driven by a strong 7.2% jump in same-store sales. Excluding China, group sales were down 0.7% at EUR192.3m.

For the first nine months, sales came fell 3.9% to EUR718.5m, compared with the same period last year. Like-for-like sales fell 6.9%.

Etam said it planned to "significantly" reduce costs in its European operations in the forthcoming period.

The group is already cutting back its Etam Prêt-à-Porter network in Belgium with the sale or closure of 20 stores in 2009, according to an earlier announcement.

The company has 3,361 stores.