Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc has widened its third quarter losses as the company struggles to attract more fashion focused customers to its stores.


For the three months ended 28 October, net loss rose to $14.1m, or $0.36 per share, from $11.7m, or $0.30 per share in the same period last year.

Net sales fell 15.6% to $64.5m year-on-year, down from $76.4m. Comparable store sales for the third quarter dropped 15.5%.

Michael Searles, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company's financial performance reflects the fact that is in the midst of transitioning its customer base.


"We believe that the promotional customer that has always been drawn to our stores is opting out and the higher demographic, fashion focused customer that we are trying to attract is taking longer than we'd like to come in," he said.


The men's division was down 15.2%, women's was down 10.2% and accessories were down 19.1%. Mall stores were down 23.5% and outlets were down 5.6%.

For the year to date, net loss has widened to $45.1m from $29.5m million in the same period of 2005. Sales have fallen 14.1% to $188.3m, and same store sales are down 13.9%.

Wilsons Leather, which sells leather outerwear, accessories and apparel, operates 424 stores across the US