MOTHERS WORK PARES LOSS

NEW YORK — Improved same-store sales helped Mothers Work Inc. cut its losses in the second quarter.
The Philadelphia-based retailer of maternity apparel in the U.S. said its losses had declined to $836,012 in the quarter from $893,685 in the year-ago period.
Net sales increased 25.9 percent to $83.7 million from $66.5 million in the 1999 quarter. The increase was mainly due to a comparable-store sales increase of 11.1 percent during the second quarter.
During the first half of the year net income rose to $1.2 million, or 34 cents per share, from $440,752, or 12 cents, a year ago.
Net sales increased 22.6 percent to $175.5 million from $143.2 million, with a comparable-store sales increase of 9.5 percent.
Rebecca Matthias, president and chief operating officer of Mothers Work, said the company was “excited about the opportunity to attack the midprice point of the maternity market through our existing infrastructure via our new Mimi Essentials for maternity line.”
After focusing on the mass market for maternity apparel, the company switched gears with the introduction of Mimi Essentials to again offer moderate price points in maternity. The company plans to open Mimi Essentials stores and Mimi Essentials departments in existing stores in the coming months and has put the new product line on the Internet at Mimiessentials.com.
The retailer operated 669 maternity stores at the end of the quarter, compared with 580 locations last year. During the second quarter, Mothers Work opened 23 locations and closed two.

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