Jamba Inc, owner of Jamba Juice stores, has reported lower net sales for the first half of 2009 but a significant drop in net losses.

Net sales for the 28 weeks to 14 July fell to US$171m, compared to $198.6m in the same period a year earlier, Jamba said yesterday (20 August).

However, the group stripped back net losses in the first half of 2009, reporting losses of $15m against $95.6m in the previous year. Second quarter net losses fell from $89.2m in the first six months of 2008 to $5.3m this year.

"We continued to make strong progress against our strategic initiatives in the second quarter despite a challenging operating environment," said Jamba president and CEO James White.

"We successfully completed the sale of $35m in convertible, preferred stock. The sale proceeds, which were used to repay our senior term note and eliminate all of our long-term debt, have strengthened our balance sheet," said White, adding that the firm "continue to advance our cost management initiatives".

Company accounts show the group cut labour costs in the half-year, to $40.5m from 51.7m. The group also had a one-off impairment charge of $82m in the first half of 2008. Labour costs are intended to be at or below 34% of store sales by the end of 2009.

Jamba anticipated that up to 45 new stores will open in the 2009 full-year. White added that the firm is "actively working with Nestlé on our Ready-To-Drink beverage re-launch".