Talbots swings to profit in Q1, but cuts outlook

Hingham, Mass. -- The Talbots reported Tuesday that first-quarter profit was $739,000, compared with a loss of $4.4 million in the year-ago period. However, net sales dropped 6% to $301.3 million, compared with $320.7 million in the same period last year, and consolidated same-store sales decreased 7.7%.

Results missed Wall Street estimates and the company has lowered its second quarter outlook.

“Our first quarter performance reflects an inconsistent customer response to our merchandise assortments, a challenging competitive environment and high levels of promotional activity,” said Trudy F. Sullivan, president and CEO.

Talbots said it expects "high levels" of markdowns throughout the second quarter to make way for new fall merchandise.

In line with previously announced plans to close 90 to 100 stores and consolidate and/or downsize 15 to 20 stores over two years, the retailer announced that it plans to close approximately 110 stores in total, including 13 consolidations. Some 83 stores are expected to close in fiscal 2011, 25 stores are planned for closure in fiscal 2012 and two stores are planned to close in fiscal 2013.

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