Spiegel, Talbots Cite Lower Sales

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Spiegel Inc. and Talbots Inc. reported lower March sales and pointed to this year's later Easter as a possible cause. Spiegel, Downers Grove, IL, reported a 5 percent decrease in total net sales to $221.1 million, from $232.3 million, for the five weeks ended April 4. For the 13 weeks ended April 4, total sales were down 6 percent to $553.1 million, from $569.8 million in last year's first quarter. Comparable store sales decreased 10 percent for both the five-week and 13-week periods ended April 4. Talbots, Hingham, MA, reported that total sales were slightly lower at $111.3 million for the five weeks ending April 4, compared with $111.6 million for the same period last year. Comparable store sales were down 5.9 percent for the month. In addition to the late Easter, the company pushed its midseason sale back a week. Last year's pre-Easter sales week ended March 29 and this year's ended April 11.

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