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Talbots to Sell J. Jill

Hingham, Mass. Talbots Inc. said Thursday that it plans to sell its J. Jill brand and concentrate on its namesake brand due to current economic conditions.

The company also said it pulled its forecast for the second half of fiscal 2008 due to the planned sale.

Earlier Thursday, Talbots said that its fiscal third-quarter same-store sales fell 13.9%, hurt by declining customer traffic.

"In light of the current macroeconomic environment, we therefore feel it is a strong move to focus solely on executing the successful turnaround of our core brand. While we have made solid progress in improving the J. Jill brand's operation, we have made the strategic decision to pursue its sale," chief executive Trudy F. Sullivan said in a statement.

The company said J. Jill will fall under discontinued operations for the fiscal third quarter and all prior periods. Talbots added that Talbots Kids, Mens and U.K. operations closed during the third quarter and will also be listed as discontinued operations.

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