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Talbots Sharply Cuts Second-Half Forecast

Now expects same-store sales declines and third- and fourth-quarter losses based on "increasingly conservative consumer spending mindset."

Shares of Talbots Inc. fell 5.5 percent to $14.45 in mid-morning trading following the company’s revised outlook on Wednesday for fall, due to weaker than anticipated quarter-to-date sales results primarily for the Talbots brand.

Cumulatively, the company expects losses in the second half to total 25 to 35 cents a diluted share, including 16 cents in one-time charges and fees. That’s compared to earlier guidance of earnings of 42 to 48 cents, which included 8 to 10 cents in charges. By quarter, the loss is expected to total 20 to 25 cents in the third quarter and 5 to 10 cents in the fourth.

Same-store sales during the third and fourth quarters, originally expected to be flat, are now forecast to be negative in the mid- to high-single digits. Revenues are seen falling $65 million to $75 million below its earlier forecast.

“We are very disappointed in our quarter-to-date performance,” said Trudy Sullivan, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our results have been significantly impacted by weaker than expected Talbots brand store sales, particularly during the important mid-season sale, which started in late September.”

She added that one action implemented to reverse soft sales trends was a new promotional strategy for the Talbots brand “that we believe will elevate our competitive positioning.”

The Hingham, Mass.-based firm also said that J. Jill won’t be accretive to earnings this year and that, based on this forecast, it would not be in compliance with the covenants connected to its acquisition of J. Jill. It is seeking to amend these agreements and expects to provide an update on the situation when it reports its third-quarter results, as it’s scheduled to do on Nov. 27.


For more, see Thursday’s issue of WWD.