Upscale women's fashion company Marisa Christina Inc on Friday said it halved its loss for the traditionally weak second quarter loss despite slow sales triggered by a soft retail environment.

The New York-based firm posted a net a of $706,000 versus a year-ago net loss of $1.4 million with sales for the latest quarter down 16 per cent to $2.8m from $3.3m last year due to lower customer bookings.

Chairman Michael Lerner, said: "The second quarter is historically the weakest and we fully expected this loss. We knew that our first six months sales volume would be lower than the previous year, due to the state of the economy and careful retailers.

"Our sales volume for the second half of 2003 will bring our top line equal to the level in 2002. We anticipate an operating profit for the year 2003, which should equal or exceed 2002."