Maternity apparel chain Mothers Work Inc has reported a wider fourth quarter loss as it was hit by a charge related to a debt refinancing.

The Philadelphia-based company posted a net loss of $1.7 million versus a loss of $186,000 in the year-ago period despite a 20 per cent surge in sales to $111.3m from $92.6m in 2001.

The retailer said excluding the impact of the $3m charge related to its fourth-quarter fiscal 2002 refinancing, its quarterly earnings totalled $1.3m.

It added it sees fiscal 2003 net sales of $495m to $500m.