Talbots reports signs of J. Jill turnaround in Q4

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The Talbots Inc. yesterday reported that consolidated sales in the fourth quarter ended Feb. 3 totaled $638 million. Same-store sales declined 1.6 percent during the same period.

By brand, comparable-store sales declined 2.1 percent for Talbots and increased 1.5 percent for J. Jill during the fourth quarter. This was the first time in over a year that J. Jill has reported positive comparable-store results, the company claimed.

Fourth-quarter consolidated direct marketing sales totaled $114 million.

The company blamed its disappointing results on weaker-than-anticipated sales in the fourth quarter and resulting higher levels of markdown merchandise.

Hingham, MA-based Talbots year-end results include J. Jill brand results for the period beginning May 3, 2006, which was the effective date of the acquisition.

For the 53-week period, consolidated sales totaled $2.231 million. Retail-store sales increased to $1.604 million for Talbots, compared to $1.544 million last year.

Comparable-store sales rose 0.7 percent for the year. By brand, comparable-store sales for Talbots increased 1.3 percent and decreased 4.4 percent for J. Jill since the date of acquisition.

Consolidated direct marketing sales totaled $385 million.

Company net income for the year totaled $31.6 million or $0.59 per diluted share.

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