Tween Brands Inc today (20 May) said it swung to a first quarter loss as teen girls stayed away from its stores, but tight control of costs and inventories meant results were in line with its expectations.

The New Albany, Ohio based retailer, which has nearly finished converting stores to its lower-priced Justice nameplate, said its loss for the quarter was $1.4m, or $0.06 per share, compared to a profit of $4.3m, or $0.17 per share, a year ago.

"The economy continued to negatively impact our sales in the first quarter of 2009," said chairman and CEO Michael Rayden.

"While we reported a loss for the period, our sales performance was in line with our internal forecast and our expense management exceeded our internal forecast, placing us on track to comfortably satisfy our credit facility covenants."

Net sales dropped 18% to $205.2m, driven by a 23% decline in comparable store sales.

Store operating, general and administrative expenses fell to $62.9m from $77.9m last year, due to reductions in store payroll, home office headcount, and marketing costs.