By and  on January 11, 2011

The holiday season might have raised hopes only to later deflate them, but the general retail narrative — as read in fourth-quarter updates from Tiffany & Co., Sears Holdings Corp., The Talbots, Inc. and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. — appears to have remained unchanged.

The extremes of luxe, at Tiffany, and mass, at Sears, foresaw better profits, while the struggles of the muddled middle were seen in Talbots’ projected loss, which sent its stock reeling. PVH illustrated the potential for growth through acquisition by playing up the impact of its purchase of Tommy Hilfiger in May.

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