Talbots catalog sales dip 1% for the year

A tough retail environment and sluggish catalog sales led to an 8% drop in fourth-quarter sales for The Talbots (NYSE: TLB). But tighter inventory controls and fewer expenses helped the Hingham, MA-based apparel cataloger/retailer to post a 10% jump in net income for the year.

Net income for the year ended Feb. 2 was $127.0 million, up from $115.2 million for fiscal 2000. Total net sales increased 1%, to $1.62 billion. But catalog sales fell 1%, to $266.5 million from $269.0 million.

Net income for the fourth quarter totaled $32.5 million, down less than 2% from $33.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2000. Fourth-quarter net sales were $433.2 million, compared with $473.1 million the previous year. Catalog sales decreased 17%, to $70.5 million from $85.4 million.

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