Clothing and baby products retailer Postie Plus Group lifted first half sales 4.6 percent from a year earlier, and is expecting a smaller loss for the six month period.

Same store sales at the group, which includes Postie and Babycity stores, were also up 4.6 per cent from a year earlier for the half year to the end of January.

Market share increased further in what continued to be a difficult retail climate, particularly for the speciality apparel segment, Postie Plus said today.

The first half result, due on March 24, was expected to show a reduction in last year's first half loss.

Second half revenue was traditionally larger and that was expected to be the case this year, but the company was cautious about the outlook for the next half given the inconsistent pattern of trade in the past six months, Postie Plus said.

Margins would continue to be under pressure given the ongoing discounting pressure in the segment.

The company also said chairman Peter van Rij had decided to step down from the position due to work commitments.

He would remain as a director to support the new chairman Richard Punter, who had been a full time professional director for 15 years and an independent director of Postie Plus since its inception in 2003.

Punter was also chairman of Flotech Group and of WhisperTech, and was an independent director of the Motor Trade Association and an independent member of the Fonterra milk price panel.

- NZPA