Mar 25, 2011
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Talbots posts loss, Q1 sales trend weak

Mar 25, 2011

March 24 - Talbots Inc posted a quarterly loss as the women's clothier struggled to keep pace with its clientele's fashion preferences, and said first-quarter sales so far were weak despite offering more discounts.

Talbots Inc
Scarf from Talbots lookbook

Talbots, which caters to women aged 45 and above, has been trying to woo younger women by selling with trendier clothes, but without much success.

The Hingham, Massachusetts-based company, which had earlier warned of a weak fourth quarter, posted a net loss of $2.8 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with profit of $4.1 million, or 7 cents a share last year.

Sales fell 7 percent to $292.6 million.

Analysts' revised estimates were a loss of 18 cents a share, on revenue of $294.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

A harsher winter and huge discounts both hurt business at the retailer.

Talbots, which was established in 1947, said while first-quarter sales were better than in the fourth quarter, they were still down about 4 percent over last year.

Shares of the company have lost almost 40 percent of their worth since January, when Talbots forecast a weak fourth quarter. They had closed at $4.8 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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