Maternity wear retailer Mothers Work Inc has posted improved second quarter net income of $0.4 million, up from $0.3m in the same period a year earlier.

The Philadelphia-based company, which operates 1032 retail locations, also reported a 13 per cent increase in second quarter net sales to $125.8m, up from $111.3m in the preceding second quarter.

According to COO Rebecca Matthias, the company realised a "significant" improvement in sales for the second quarter compared to the first.

"Although we are pleased with our sales results for the quarter, our effort to drive product cost down by ordering large quantities of key items on long lead times contributed to fashion misses.

"We therefore decided to take aggressive markdowns to clear these styles and to enable us to bring in additional new 'fashion-right' styles for spring.

"This led to significantly lower-than-planned gross margin as a percentage of sales and lower-than-planned second quarter earnings."

Mothers Work opened 22 new locations and closed 17 locations during the quarter.