Specialty fashion and footwear retailer, Le Château Inc, on Wednesday swung into a first quarter profit as it was boosted by an 11.8 per cent climb in first quarter sales to $42.9 million.

The Montreal-based operator of 153 stores posted a net profit of $343,000 or seven cents per share, compared to a net loss of $555,000 or 11 cents per share, in 2001. Comparable store sales increased 15.9 per cent.

It added net earnings attributable to Canadian operations amounted to $600,000, or 12 cents per share, while a net loss of $257,000, or five cents per share, was recorded in the US. For the first seven weeks of the second quarter, total retail sales climbed 23.3 per cent.