Men's and women's apparel retailer J Crew Group recorded first-quarter net income of $5 million compared to a net loss of $24m a year ago, encouraged by a 37 per cent same-store sales increase and growth within the Direct business.

First-quarter net sales rose 45 per cent to $211m from $146m a year ago, with retail net sales rising 40 per cent to $146m from $104m last year. Net sales of the Direct business grew 59 per cent to $59m.

The company, which operates 157 retail stores as well as the JCrew catalogue business,, and 43 factory outlet stores, has recently been concentrating on revitalising its J Crew brand.