Talbots posts bigger-than-expected loss; chief creative officer out

Hingham, Mass. — Talbots posted a bigger-than-expected second-quarter loss on Wednesday, largely due to increased markdowns. The retailer also said that chief creative officer Michael Smaldone has departed the company, effective immediately.

Talbots reported a net loss of $37.3 million for the period ended July 30, compared with a profit of $941,000 a year earlier. Revenue fell 10% to $271.1 million from $300.7 million. Same-stores sales fell 10.4%.

Talbots said its sales and traffic so far in the third quarter are down and anticipates its high levels of promotions and markdowns will continue.

The company’s decision to part ways with Smaldone was prompted by ongoing frustration with lackluster consumer reception to Talbots’ merchandise. The retailer said it is looking for a replacement for Smaldone, and that president and CEO Trudy Sullivan is assuming the chief creative duties until the search is done.

In August, Talbots announced that it had adopted a poison-pill plan. The news came shortly after private equity group Sycamore Partners LP revealed a 9.9% stake in the company and hinted at a potential buyout.

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