NEW YORK — Brisk shopping later in the first quarter couldn’t offset the erosive effect of Talbots’ deep freeze in February sales, which helped drive down net income 16 percent.

The Hingham, Mass.-based women’s specialty chain, which operates 917 stores, said income for the three months ended May 3 fell to $29.4 million, or 51 cents a diluted share, at the high end of the company’s previous estimates and 1 cent ahead of consensus estimates. In the year-ago quarter, profits were $35 million, or 57 cents.

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