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Quarter-to-date comparable store sales down at Talbots
12
Jan '11
The Talbots Inc provided an update on its outlook for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ending January 29, 2011.

Although the Company experienced solid selling trends from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, trends deteriorated in the last two weeks of December into January, despite our enhanced promotional posture. The Company believes this is due to a combination of factors, including a weaker than anticipated customer response to our current merchandise assortment, high levels of competitive promotional activity in the market and weather-related issues.

As a result, quarter-to-date top line sales are down approximately 7% versus the fourth quarter of last year, which compares to the Company's previously announced expectation for fourth quarter top-line sales in the range of flat to down low-single digits. Quarter-to-date comparable store sales are down approximately 6%.

Based on current sales levels, the Company expects fourth quarter adjusted loss per share from continuing operations, excluding special items, to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.19 per share. This compares to last year's adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding special items, of $0.13 and is a decrease from its previously announced range of an adjusted loss from continuing operations, excluding special items, of $0.05 per share to adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $0.03 per share.

Full year adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding special items, are expected to be in the range of $0.56 to $0.60 per share. This compares to last year's adjusted loss per share from continuing operations, excluding special items, of $0.10 and is a decrease from its previously announced range of $0.70 to $0.78 per share.

Trudy F. Sullivan, Talbots President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "While we are disappointed with our fourth quarter performance, we have accomplished a great deal this fiscal year and are a stronger, leaner and more profitable Company. Our balance sheet position is healthy and our debt level has been significantly reduced. With a solid financial foundation, we have the flexibility to invest as required to further enhance our operating platform and refresh our brand."

"We will continue to evolve our strategic approach to achieve our long term objectives and remain keenly focused on merchandise initiatives to improve our assortment as well as branding and marketing strategies that will accelerate the pace of attracting new and reactivating lapsed customers, while continuing to please our core customer. We believe that this, coupled with our productivity initiatives, will drive improved results across our business and increase shareholder value," concluded Ms. Sullivan.

The Company plans to report its fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2010 results on March 24, 2011 and will comment on its outlook for fiscal 2011 at that time.

The above outlookis based on the Company's internal assumptions and estimates, is subject to its accompanying forward-looking statement and is not a guarantee of future performance.

The Talbots Inc is a leading specialty retailer and direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes and accessories.

The Talbots Inc

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