Maternity apparel major Mothers Work Inc on Tuesday said its third-quarter sales were hit by "deep and widespread markdowns by our competitors to clear spring inventories."

Net sales for the three months ended 30 June increased 5.4 per cent to $139.6 million from $132.4 million in the same quarter of the preceding year. Same-store sales fell 5.0 per cent.

Profit posted by the Philadelphia-based company was $7.0 million versus $8.4 million in the same period last year. 

Rebecca Matthias, president and chief operating officer, said the firm is targeting net sales for fiscal 2004 in the $524 to $526 million range.