• Q2 loss narrows to $2.8m
  • Sales down 8.1% to $205.1m
  • Dress Barn merger set for Q4 close

Teen apparel retailer Tween Brands Inc has narrowed its second quarter loss, helped by tight inventory and expense control along with increased promotional activity.

"While we faced the ongoing headwind of a tough economy, our business began to show improvement in the second quarter, particularly as the period progressed," said chairman and CEO Michael Rayden.

He also said the planned merger with off-price women's wear retailer Dress Barn Inc, which was agreed in June, is on track to close in the fourth quarter.

"We continue to make progress on the merger with Dress Barn, as well as our brand transition.

"At a time when the tween girl apparel market continues to contract, market research shows that we have actually begun to increase our market share," Rayden added.

For the second quarter ended 1 August, the company narrowed its net loss to $2.8m, or $0.11 per share, from a loss of $6.7m, or $0.27 per share, for the same period last year.

Quarterly sales fell 8.1% to $205.1m from $223.1m, driven by a 12% decline in comparable store sales.

The New Albany, Ohio-based company, which targets girls aged 7-to-14, managed to reduce store operating, general and administrative expenses to $64.6m from $71.1m a year ago after cutting jobs and marketing. Inventories were also down 18.5% per square foot.

Tween Brands operates 903 stores under the Justice and Limited Too brands.