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Talbots 3Q Loss Widens

BY CSA STAFF

Hingham, Mass. Talbots Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter loss widened on the closing of some units, along with softer traffic and consumer spending.

For the period ended Nov. 1, Talbots reported a loss of $167.2 million compared with a loss of $9.4 million, or 18? per share, a year earlier.

Excluding $152.4 million related to the closing of Talbots Kids, Men’s and U.K. businesses and the decision to sell J. Jill, the company posted a loss of $14.8 million compared with a loss of $893,000.

Quarterly sales dropped to $357.3 million, down 14% from $414 million in the previous year. Wall Street forecast sales of $357 million. Same-store sales sagged 13.9%.

Talbots said it would not provide a fourth-quarter or full-year forecast until more time has passed due to the likelihood of ongoing struggles in the retail market.

The women’s specialty retailer also announced that it has locked up deals with lenders to convert $125 million in uncommitted working capital to committed working capital.

“This is a great step forward for Talbots as it serves to stabilize our liquidity during these most difficult and uncertain times, enabling us to focus on implementing the key strategic initiatives that will drive improved performance of our business,” chief executive Trudy Sullivan said in a statement.

The company also said it is in talks with other lenders on similar transactions.

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Dillard’s to lay off 500 associates

BY CSA STAFF

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Dillard’s announced a strategic staff reduction of approximately 500 associates as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce operating expenses.

The work force reduction includes approximately 60 associates in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dillard’s employs approximately 60,000 associates nationwide and approximately 2,400 in the Little Rock area.

Dillard’s third-quarter sales for the 13 weeks ended Nov. 1, were $1.48, a 10% decrease from $1.63 billion in 2007. Comparable-store sales decreased 9%.

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Best Buy launches holiday microsite

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy has announced the launch of it’s new holiday microsite at www.AskABlueShirt.com. The site features interactive applications such as a Digital Note to Santa to “Hot Gift” and “Holiday Traditions” blog posts.

Best Buy BlueShirt technology Pros and Geek Squad agents are contributing posts based on consumer questions they are hearing in the stores – with topics ranging from new trends in photo sharing and accessorizing your iPhone to staying virtually connected to friends and family. In addition, a Holiday Wiki was developed as a portal to collect consumers’ favorite holiday traditions. BlueShirt bloggers will add tips on incorporating the latest in consumer electronics to those holiday rituals.

“We know consumers are looking for holiday gift giving advice and ways to engage with others across the country”, said Greg Johnson, senior vp of marketing for Best Buy. “The new holiday microsite is a fun way to not only share our knowledge and perspective, but to also learn what unique holiday traditions our customers engage in to make the holiday season even more enjoyable.”

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