Speciality retailer Wilsons the Leather Experts posted a double-digit third-quarter sales fall as the US company continued its transition to a brand-driven strategy.

Net sales for the three months ended 3 November fell 10.3% to $57.8m, equating to a same-store sales decrease of 13.3%. Net losses widened to $18.5m from $14.1m in the same period last year.

That brought Wilsons' year-to-date net sales to $159m, down 15.6%, with losses running at $69.2m, compared to $45.1m last year.

Company CEO Michael Searles said: "Our third-quarter performance is reflective of our continuing transition to a brand-driven strategy, as well as an unseasonably warm third quarter, which saw our apparel categories in the mall and outlet channels declining 25.5% in men's and 18.9% in women's."

But he said that branded sales were continuing to out-perform expectations, cementing the belief that the company's future lay in branded outerwear and accessories.

"Accessory categories in our mall stores continued to see double-digit comparable store sales increases during the quarter," said Searles. "As colder weather has arrived, the first two weeks of November have seen our mall and outlet channels move to positive comparable store sales."