By  on March 13, 2008

Markdowns in the fourth quarter weakened the bottom lines of specialty retailers Talbots Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc., while Hot Topic Inc. posted a hefty profit on improved cost controls.

Talbots Inc. on Wednesday posted both fourth-quarter and full-year losses. For the quarter ended Feb. 2, the loss was $171.4 million, or $3.23 a diluted share, against income of $17,000, or breakeven a diluted share, in the same year-ago quarter. Sales were down 7.9 percent to $587.4 million from $638 million.

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