Sales Rise for Talbots, Brookstone, Nordstrom

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Net income for The Talbots Inc. reached $37.4 million in its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 2, a 2 percent increase from $36.6 million in the same period last year, the Hingham, MA, company said yesterday.


Total company sales in the quarter rose 2 percent to $401.8 million from $393.9 million. Retail store sales were up 4 percent to $339.7 million from $325.7 million in the same period in fiscal 2001. Included in retail store sales was a drop in comparable-store sales of 3.2 percent. Catalog sales fell 9 percent to $62.1 million from $68.2 million last year.


For the 39-week period, net income dropped 2 percent to $92.4 million from $94.5 million in the same 39-week period in fiscal 2001. Total company sales fell 1 percent to $1.16 billion from $1.18 billion a year ago. Retail store sales were $984.4 million, up from $983.3 million last year. Included in retail store sales was a drop in comparable-store sales of 6.9 percent. Catalog sales fell 9 percent to $179.1 million from $196 million last year.


The company opened 29 new stores and closed one in the quarter, bringing the number to 874. Opening were 11 Misses, 13 Petites and 5 Talbots Woman stores. Its catalog operation expects to circulate about 50 million worldwide in fiscal 2002.


In other news:


· Brookstone Inc., Nashua, NH, said that total company sales were $62.8 million in the 13 weeks ended Nov. 2, up 7.4 percent from $58.5 million in last year's fiscal third quarter. Same-store sales for the comparable 13 weeks rose 7 percent while direct-to-customer sales in the quarter fell 6.8 percent to $12.5 million on a planned 24 percent reduction in circulation. The company reported a net loss of $6.7 million in the quarter. Total company sales were $190.7 million in the 39 weeks ended Nov. 2, up 4.1 percent from $183.1 million for the same period a year ago. Direct-to-customer sales in the 39-week period fell 0.5 percent to $35.5 million, and same-store sales dropped 0.3 percent. Net loss year-to-date is $15.4 million, compared with $16.9 million for the same 39 weeks last year. "Sales of our direct-to-customer segment decreased on a planned reduction in circulation, and as a result of this productivity, pretax profitability in this segment increased approximately $1.9 million in the third quarter as compared to last year," Brookstone chairman/president/CEO Michael Anthony said in a statement.


· Nordstrom Inc., Seattle, on Tuesday reported net earnings of $18.4 million for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31 compared with fiscal third quarter 2001 net earnings of $10.5 million. However, its gross profit, though higher than last year, was less than anticipated as selling and distribution expenses were slightly higher than expected. Net sales in the quarter rose 6.8 percent to $1.3 billion from $1.2 billion in the same period last year. On a calendar basis, same-store sales increased 2.6 percent. Year-to-date net earnings in the nine months ended Oct. 31 totaled $30.2 million compared with $73.9 million in the same period a year ago. Excluding $71 million (net of tax) in nonrecurring and impairment charges, 2002 year-to-date net earnings were $101.2 million. Year-to-date net sales of $4.2 billion were up 5.5 percent from a year ago. On a calendar basis, year-to-date same-store sales rose 1.2 percent.


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