NEW YORK — Its base of loyal shoppers couldn’t offset declines among fringe customers, cutting into Talbots’ fourth-quarter earnings, sales and comparable-store sales.

The Hingham, Mass.-based women’s specialty retailer said income for the three months ended Feb. 1 dwindled 12.9 percent to $28.3 million, or 48 cents a diluted share, 1 cent above consensus estimates. Talbots reported earnings of $32.5 million, or 53 cents, in the year-ago period. Overall sales for the quarter dipped 0.3 percent to $431.8 million over $433.2 million. Retail store sales increased 0.2 percent to $363.5 million from $362.7 million in last year’s quarter, but withered 6 percent on a comparable-store sales basis. Catalog sales fell 3 percent to $68.3 million from $70.5 million in the year-ago period.

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