Exterior of an Aeropostale store.

Mall-based teen retailer Aéropostale reported on Thursday net sales declined 17 percent to $336.9 million in the second quarter ended Aug. 1, from $396.2 million in the corresponding 13-week period of 2014 ended Aug. 2.

The retailer recorded a net loss for the second quarter of $43.7 million or 55 cents per share, an improvement from the 2014 period of a $64 million net loss or 81 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts expected that the retailer would report a loss of 55 cents per share on revenue of $335.7 million.

Comparable sales, including the e-commerce channel, fell 8 percent in the second quarter of 2015, compared to a decrease of 13 percent for the corresponding 2014 period.

Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 17.8 percent or $58 million in the second quarter, compared with 15.8 percent or $63 million in the same period last year.

Loss from operations declined to $37.4 million in the current second quarter from $62 million in 2014.

“The second quarter was an important transitional time for us in which we set the stage for the second half of the year,” said Julian Geiger, chief executive officer. “We attained very high levels of merchandise currency, delivered our new back-to-school merchandise and refocused our marketing efforts around key items, all while attaining operating results consistent with the better end of our guidance.”

Geiger added that the company is encouraged by its progress during the initial part of the b-t-s season, “especially the significant improvement in our girls business. Our third-quarter outlook reflects a continuation of the momentum we have generated in the quarter-to-date period.  This guidance indicates a significant reduction in operating loss versus last year.”

For the third quarter of fiscal 2015, the company expects operating losses in the range of $19 million to $25 million, which translates to a net loss in the range of 30 cents to 38 cents per diluted share. The effective tax rate for the third quarter is projected to be about 4 percent.

The company closed 23 Aéropostale units during the second quarter to end with 826 stores and invested $6 million in planned capital expenditures.

The retailer faces the challenge of what experts see as a decline in b-t-s apparel spending.

Aéropostale’s shares rose 10.5 percent to $1.26 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, prior to its earnings release after the bell.

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