Talbots Catalog Sales Rise

Talbots Inc.posted a 5 percent increase in fiscal third-quarter profits yesterday as net income rose to $36.6 million, or 58 cents per diluted share, from $34.9 million, or 54 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected the company to post a profit of 57 cents per share, as estimates ranged from 57 to 59 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Total sales for the quarter ended Nov. 3 dropped 1 percent to $393.9 million while sales at stores open at least one year fell 8.2 percent. Catalog sales increased 4 percent to $68.2 million from $65.8 million last year.

The Hingham, MA, company opened 37 new stores in the quarter to reach 787. Talbots said that it is on track to open 85 new stores next year.

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