US-based multi-channel retailer J.Crew Group has posted a 26.6% decrease in total sales to $2.93bn in the third quarter (Q3) of fiscal 2012.

Comparable store sales decreased 26.1% for the reporting quarter while internet sales through declined 37.3% to $214m.

Total operating expenses declined to $1.11bn when compared to $1.66bn due to lower selling, general and administrative as well as decreased restructuring and management transition expenses.

Gross margin declined 32.5% from 37.4%, hurt by lower than expected sales and a higher level of clearance merchandise sales.

During the quarter, the company opened shops under the Levi’s, IZOD, Liz Claiborne, The Original Arizona Jean, and jcp brands.

The retailer also opened 38 Sephora inside jcpenney stores, bringing their total to 386.

jcpenney chief executive Ron Johnson said, "While the quarter overall was challenging, the performance of jcp’s new brands and shops reinforces our conviction to transform jcpenney into a specialty department store.”

J. Crew Group is a specialty retailer of fashionable clothing and jewelry. The product portfolio includes a wide array of women’s clothing, men’s apparel, crewcuts line of clothing, footwear, handbags, jewelry and related accessories.

It also offers varied customer services including free home delivery, gift cards, credit cards and other financial services. The chain, currently, operates 1,100 stores across the US.