Third quarter profit at maternity wear retailer Mothers Work Inc has quadrupled, helped by higher same-store and internet sales despite the weak overall economic and retail environment.

For the three months to 30 June, profit soared to $4.1m, or $0.68 per share, from $1.0m, or $0.17 per share in the same period last year.

Net sales were down by 0.7% to $152.2m from $153.2m, largely due to the winding down of its leased departments at Sears and the closure of underperforming stores. Comparable store sales increased 2.4% during the quarter.

The company announced this month that it is to streamline its merchandise brands and store nameplates to cut annual costs by around $5m.

Of its $0.9m reorganisation costs, $0.7m will be recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 and $0.2m in the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

In it outlook for the rest of fiscal 2008, the company is projecting fourth quarter net sales in the $130.5m to $134.4m range, and to swing to a loss of $0.30 to $0.46 per share on debt repurchase and restructuring charges.

For fiscal 2008, net sales are likely to be in the $564.5m to $568.5m range, down 2.2% to 2.9% on fiscal 2007, based on an expected same-store sales decline between 0.3% and a 0.5% gain.

Higher markdowns and cost inflation are likely to cut full year gross margin to 50.3% of total revenue, down from 51.6% last year.

Mothers Work operates 1,055 maternity locations, including 761 stores, predominantly under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, Mimi Maternity, and Destination Maternity nameplates. It also distributes its Oh Baby by Motherhood collection at Kohl's.