Talbots Improves Loss in Second Quarter

Second-quarter sales for apparel cataloger/retailer Talbots dropped 23%, to $304.6 million, from $395.2 million. For the period ended Aug. 1, the company reported a net loss of $24.4 million, compared to a net loss of $25.0 million for the second quarter in 2008.

Direct marketing sales, including catalog and Internet, decreased 18.2%, to $49.8 million, from $60.9 million. Retail sales fell nearly 24%, to $254.8 million, from $334.3 million. Same-store sales declined nearly 25%.

Despite the numbers, company chairman/CEO Trudy Sullivan remained positive: “It is important to note that we are beginning to see greater benefit from the strategic initiatives we put in place,” she said in a release. Talbots, which just sold its J. Jill business to an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital, has been aggressively trying to cut costs.

“We ended the second quarter with a substantial reduction in operating expenses and a solid increase in merchandise margin, all of which contributed to a significantly better-than-expected bottom line performance,” Sullivan said. “We are especially pleased with our inventory position as we enter the third quarter.”

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