Canadian natural and organic retailer Planet Organic said it is seeing positive sales trends despite recording a deeper net loss in its first quarter.

For the period ended 30 September, the company booked a net loss of C$1.3m (US$1.2m) compared to a net loss of C$646,000 in 2008.

Sales from continuing operations, however, reached C$28.1m, or 1.4% on the previous year.

The Planet Organic market division reported sales for the quarter of C$14.8m, a rise of 1.5% over the same period last year.

However, same-store sales fell by 1.7% compared to the first quarter last year, primarily the result of economic conditions in Canada.

The Mrs Green’s Natural Market division reported sales of C$11.8m for the quarter, an increase of 3.8% over the previous year. However, same-store sales, excluding the impact of foreign exchange, fell by 1.4%.

“While we are certainly disappointed to see negative same store sales growth in our two largest divisions, we are fortunate that the decreases remain in the very low single-digits, despite some of the toughest economic conditions in recent memory,” said Darren Krissie, executive vice president, business development and co-CEO. “We’re starting to see positive sales growth trends in both these divisions in the last two months.”

The company said it has taken steps to reduce its cost structure and “optimise efficiencies”, particularly in the Planet Organic Market division and with the expected sale of two “underperforming” divisions.