Fashion firm French Connection Group has narrowed its first half loss to GBP2.5m, from GBP3.6m last year, amid tricky UK trading conditions.

For the six months ended 31 July, the company's turnover fell to GBP109.4m from GBP111.2m during the prior year period.

Stephen Marks, French Connection chairman, said the company's ladies' wear sales have improved "despite the widely-reported difficult trading environment in the UK."

He added that "other areas continue to be softer than last year resulting in an overall decrease in like-for-like sales so far.

"In Wholesale the summer 2008 season should mark a return to growth in sales and profit, however turnover in the second half of this financial year will be below that reported last year."