Women's wear retailer Jacques Vert has swung to a full-year loss on falling revenues, but said the sales slowdown has eased in the first ten weeks of its current year.  

The company posted a loss after tax of GBP3.8m (US$6.13m), tumbling from a profit of GBP3.5m a year earlier.

For the 52 weeks ended 25 April, Jacques Vert's retail sales fell to GBP110.9m, from GBP114.9m. Like for like sales were down 4.7%, the company said.

The group, which sells the Jacques Vert, Windsmoor, Planet and Precis brands, said gross margin dropped to 61.5%, from 63.0% in the prior year.

The company posted operating profit before exceptional items of GBP2.4m but operating loss after exceptional items of GBP2.6m.

"This year has been exceptionally challenging, in particular the period between September 2008 and early 2009," said chairman Steve Bodger.

However, he added: "Jacques Vert has performed creditably within this context.

"Our brands have continued to make progress in the current spring season and given our cash generation and balance sheet, that is stronger than ever, we have the financial strength to withstand the current economic uncertainty and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise."

In the the first ten weeks of its current year, like-for-like sales fell by 3.4%, it said.