NEW YORK — Marisa Christina Inc. was able to nearly cut its second-quarter loss in half, despite a double-digit decline in sales.

For the three months ended June 30, the net loss was trimmed 48.4 percent to $706,000, or 10 cents a share, from $1.4 million, or 19 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales declined 15.6 percent to $2.8 million from $3.3 million in the 2002 period.

Noting the firm had expected a loss during the quarter, historically its weakest, Michael Lerner, chairman, said in a statement, “We knew that our first six months’ sales volume would be lower than the previous year, due to the state of the economy and careful retailers. Our sales volume for the second half of 2003 will bring our top line equal to the level in 2002. We anticipate an operating profit for the year 2003, which should equal or exceed 2002.”

For the six months, the firm’s operating loss stood at $1.6 million versus $1.2 million during the first half of last year. The net loss shrank 11.3 percent to $993,000, or 14 cents a share, from $1.1 million, or 15 cents, while sales receded 15.4 percent to $8.1 million from $9.5 million.

The firm manufactures and markets classic sweaters and other women’s apparel.

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