• Q3 net income of US$5.9m
  • Dress Barn merger on track
  • Net sales rise 2%

Youth clothing retailer Tween Brands has swung back to profit during the third quarter, thanks in part to continued tight inventory and expense control.

The company, whose brands include Justice and Tween Brands, reported a third quarter net income of US$5.9m, compared to a net loss of $0.8m the year before.

This year's results included a $2.8m pretax merger charge and a $3.9m pretax non-cash store impairment charge, the company said.

It was reported in June that off-price women's apparel retailer Dress Barn was acquiring Tween Brands in a stock-swap deal worth around $157m.

Net income for the third quarter of 2008 had included a $11.5m pretax restructuring charge.

Net sales increased 2.0% to $259.3m, compared to $254.3m a year ago, driven by a 35% increase in on-line, direct-to-customer sales. This was partially offset by a 2% decline in comparable store sales.

Store operating, general and administrative expenses, inclusive of merger-related costs of $2.8m, improved to $71.4m from $72.3m in 2008.

Total inventories at the end of the quarter were down 23.2% per square foot at cost.

Michael Rayden, Tween Brands chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We continue to increase our share of the 7-14 tween girl apparel market and this has helped us significantly improve comparable store sales in the current economy.

"This momentum, along with the proposed merger with Dress Barn, which our stockholders are scheduled to vote on next week, has us very energised as we look forward to the future."

Click here to view the company's full third quarter earnings statement.