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Talbots posts smaller-than-expected Q4 loss, accelerates remodels

Hingham, Mass. -- The Talbots reported Thursday a narrower-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter loss, and said it plans to expand its store re-image program to improve traffic. The chain also it expects to close as many as 100 stores over the next two years.

Talbots lost $2.8 million in the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared with a loss of $1.5 million in the year-ago period.

Net sales fell 7.4% to $292.6 million, compared with $315.9 million in the same period last year. Same-store sales dropped 7.3%.

The Talbots said that it plans to renovate about 70 stores by fiscal year-end. It also plans to close 90 to 100 stores and consolidate or down-size another 15 to 20 stores over two years, with a majority of those expected to be completed in 2011.

Additionally, the retailer said it expects to open 20 outlets in 2011.

For the full year, sales dropped to $1.21 billion from $1.24 billion a year ago. Same-store sales declined 3.4% for the year.