Accessory footwear marketer RG Barry has reported a 48.2% increase in net earnings on a 26.7% increase in net sales for its second quarter ended 27 December 2008, buoyed by a "healthy"Christmas trading period.

For the second quarter, the company posted net earnings of US$6.1m and net sales of $48.9m.

The company's selling, general and administrative expenses were $9.7m, a 3.5% increase over the equivalent period of fiscal 2008.

For the first half, the company posted net earnings of $7.2m, versus net earnings of $7.8m in the comparable period one year ago. Net sales rose 5.4% to $74.5m for the first half.

"Considering the very difficult and highly promotional 2008 retail environment, our second quarter performance was exceptionally good," said Greg Tunney, president and CEO. "Footwear consumer staples such as slippers are historically viewed as attractive, affordable gifts, even when economic times are tough. Based upon our brands' healthy performances across many retail channels during Christmas 2008, that premise remains valid."

RG Barry said a continuing loss of retail floor space due to downsizings, bankruptcies and liquidations is being felt by all suppliers, and has affected its ability to provide specific, meaningful guidance for 2009.