Weight Watchers International has posted a 0.2% dip in third-quarter earnings as cost savings offset lower sales.

The US weight management giant said earnings slipped to US$52.6m, down from $52.7m in the comparable period of last year.

Net sales dropped 8% to $324.5m, the company said, with the recession weighing on consumer spending.

Nevertheless, president and CEO David Kirchhoff remained upbeat. "Although the economic climate continues to impact our business globally, I am encouraged that our third quarter results showed signs of stabilisation and modest improvement in most lines of our business," he said.

"While some of this stabilisation may have been a reflection of a recovering economic climate, our analysis suggests that a majority of this improvement was the result of our near-term business actions. At the same time, we are continuing to pursue and invest in multiple initiatives to drive long-term growth in our business."

Weight Watchers narrowed its earnings guidance range for the full year from $2.52-2.70 per share to $2.58-$2.63, excluding restructuring charges.