ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. — In the face of sluggish June sales, United Retail Group Inc., an operator of large-size apparel stores, said it expects second-quarter earnings to fall below the year-ago quarter.

June sales inched up 2 percent to $38.7 million from $37.9 million last year, but same-store sales slid 1 percent. Sales were up in the low single digits for the Sizes Unlimited store group, but declined in the high single digits for The Avenue stores.

Sales for the quarter to date were down 3 percent to $69 million compared with $71.1 million in the same period last year, while same-store sales for the quarter to date fell 6 percent. The quarter ends July 30.

George Remeta, vice chairman and chief financial officer, said United Retail took markdowns in June. He added that July is generally a slow month for the retail apparel industry.

For the first quarter ended April 30, United Retail earnings sank 35 percent to $1.5 million.

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