Talbots to close up to 100 stores over three years

Hingham, Mass. The Talbots said Tuesday it would close 75 to 100 stores over the next three years as the women’s apparel retailer focuses on more upscale outlets to help grow revenue and improve its profit margin.

Talbots also cut its third-quarter revenue forecast, citing inconsistent customer traffic.

From fiscal 2010 levels, the retailer said it intends to grow annual revenue by 4% to 6% a year, and lower selling, general and administrative expenses. Targets include a $60 million to $75 million incremental marketing investment, while total capital expenditures would be about $60 million a year.

“We have made steady progress in turning around the Company over the past few years and we have established a strong track record of meeting our objectives,” said Trudy Sullivan, CEO. “While customer traffic in our stores in the third quarter has been inconsistent, which is a reversal of the improving trends we saw in the first half of the year, sales in our direct business continue to trend positive quarter-to-date. That said, we do believe we are solidly positioned for the remainder of the fall as well as the upcoming holiday season.”

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