• Q2 net loss narrowed to $15.4m from $88.5m
  • Net sales down 6% to $228.6m
  • Comparable store sales fell 3.4%  

Women’s fashion retailer New York & Company Inc has narrowed its second quarter loss on strong demand for its wear-to-work lines, but said same-store sales were impacted by lower levels of clearance merchandise.

The specialty apparel chain with 543 retail stores also said it sees a weak third quarter, with continued softness in its casual business and a volatile economic environment. Comparable store sales are expected to be down, and higher product costs and higher markdowns mean gross margins are expected to be in the range of 24.0% to 25.5%.

The outlook follows an “improved” second quarter, in which “customers continued to respond favourably to our improved wear-to-work assortments including suiting separates and dresses,” according to CEO Gregory Scott.

But “weakness in our casual assortment combined with significantly less clearance merchandise than last year led to a comparable store sales decline.”

Looking ahead, he continued, “fiscal year 2011 remains a transition year and while we’ve made some tangible progress we look forward to further building on our merchandising, marketing, and multi-channel strategies as we move beyond this year and into 2012.”