NEW YORK — Despite a lower cost structure, J. Crew Group Inc. was unable to stave off second-quarter losses.

Losses narrowed to $7.1 million for the quarter from $8.6 million a year ago. The year-ago results included a $2.2 million pretax charge for severance costs. While J. Crew does not have public shares, public debt compels it to report its results.

Sales for the period ended Aug. 3 dipped 0.2 percent to $167.6 million from $167.9 million. Comparable-store revenues regressed 11.4 percent. The firm’s direct business posted a 1.5 percent top-line uptick.

"Although our comp-store sales trend remains negative, second-quarter earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization was better than we anticipated, primarily reflecting our lower cost structure," said chief financial officer Scott Rosen in a statement.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization shot up 140 percent to $6 million from $2.5 million a year ago. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased by 170 basis points to 37.3 percent of sales. Inventories were down 10 percent, or 27 percent on a comp-store basis.

During the half, losses widened to $19.2 million from $17.9 million a year ago. Revenues over the six months depressed 0.3 percent to $334.7 million from $335.7 million a year ago.

As reported, Ken Pilot, former president of Gap International, joins J. Crew as chief executive officer today.

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