Financial reports: Talbots, Brookstone

Talbots 3Q catalog sales down, total sales up

Third-quarter net income at Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) increased 2%, to $37.4 million for the three months ended Nov. 2. Sales increased 2%, to $401.8 million from $393.9 million last year. Catalog sales decreased 9%, to $62.1 million from $68.2 million last year. Retail store sales increased 4%, to $339.7 million, but comparable store sales decreased 3%.

Circ cuts cut Brookstone’s 3Q loss Nashua, NH-based cataloger/retailer Brookstone (Nasdaq: BKST ), which mails the Brookstone, Hard-to-Find Tools, and Gardeners Eden tools and gifts titles, posted a net loss of $6.7 million for the three months ended Nov. 2. That’s an improvement upon the $9.0 million net loss for the third quarter of last year. A 24% reduction in catalog circulation accounted for much of the narrowed loss. It also led to a 7% drop in catalog and Internet sales, to $12.5 million for the quarter. Total third-quarter sales increased 7%, to $62.8 million from $58.5 million last year. Same store sales increased 7%.

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Financial reports: Talbots, Brookstone

Talbots 1Q catalog sales down 11%

Women’s apparel cataloger/retailer The Talbots (NYSE: TLB) posted a 2% decrease in first-quarter net sales, to $391.3 million for the three months ended May 4, compared with $401.1 million last year. Catalog sales at the Hingham, MA-based company fell 11%, to $69.6 million from $78.0 million, due in part to circulation cuts.

First-quarter net income fell 13%, to $35.0 million from $40.1 million last year. “Although our earnings per diluted share of $0.57 for the period were below last year’s record $0.62, we believe this drop is confined to the first quarter,” chairman/president/CEO Arnold Zetcher said in a statement. “Primarily impacting our results during the period were softness in our dress and structured-suit business, as well as a weak start to our mid-season sale in March.”

Brookstone’s net loss widens 25% Gadgets and tools cataloger/retailer Brookstone (Nasdaq: BKST), which mails the Brookstone, Gardeners Eden, and Hard-to-Find Tools catalogs, saw its first-quarter direct marketing sales decline just 3% on a 20% slash in circulation. Nonetheless, the cost cutting in the direct marketing division didn’t help the bottom line: Brookstone’s net loss for the quarter was $6.5 million, compared with a net loss of $5.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2001. Total first-quarter sales for the Nashua, NY-based company increased 3%, to $56.6 million from $55.0 million.

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Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
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