American Apparel Inc. on Tuesday reported after the market closed that it narrowed its first-quarter loss.

This story first appeared in the May 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the three months ended March 31, the company said the loss was $20.7 million, or 28 cents a diluted share, versus a $42.8 million loss, or 60 cents, last year. Sales fell 4.7 percent to $116.1 million from $121.8 million. Comparable sales declined 8 percent on a constant currency basis, the company said.

The firm ended the quarter with 258 stores, a reduction of 15 units in the quarter. One improvement is its gross margin, which the company said was 55.1 percent for the quarter, compared with 50.4 percent in the year-ago period.

Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Our first-quarter financial results demonstrate early signs of recovery and our first quarter has historically been our least profitable quarter.”

He noted the retailer’s key selling season is May through October, adding that the firm’s inventory assortment is “well positioned.”

The company said comps were “essentially flat so far in the second quarter and we continue to expect to achieve positive comparable-store sales for 2011.”

Tom Casey, acting president, said recent sales trends are “somewhat ahead of our business plan.”

The company said on April 26 that it raised new capital, allowing it to continue with the execution of its business plan.

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