By  on June 18, 2007

There's more behind those red doors than just a classic shirtdress. Here's a look at the eight formats that comprise the brand's lifestyle.

Talbots Kids

Concept: An infant's through kids' business that's become known for its dressy styles.

Founded: 1989 as a catalogue; the first store opened in 1990.

By the Numbers: 67 stores, each with an average size of 3,500 square feet.

Growth: Talbots Kids stores flourish in stroller-friendly mall locations, according to company executives, so look for expansion in those settings.

Talbots Petites

Concept: Merchandise sized for women under 5 feet 4 inches tall.

Founded: 1985.

By the Numbers: 297 stores, each averaging 2,600 square feet in space.

Growth: The company has added Talbots Petites Collection, a higher-end range, and Talbots Petites Woman, a petite plus-size offering.


Concept: The flagship misses' business.

Founded: In 1947 by Rudolf and Nancy Talbot as "The Talbots," with merchandise based on Nancy's personal style and love for color. The store moved two years later to a white Colonial house with a red front door in Hingham, Mass., that became part of the company iconography. The Talbots sold the company for $6 million to General Mills Inc. in 1973, but Nancy Talbot stayed on and ran the company until 1983.

By the Numbers: 560 stores, each averaging 5,000 square feet. The misses' and petites concepts generate roughly $1.3 billion annually, or about 79 percent of total Talbots brand retail sales.

Growth: The misses' flagship's growth plans call for adding 15 stores per year. Talbots hopes to generate incremental sales increases by boosting stockkeeping unit counts, reenergizing merchandise and emphasizing outfit dressing.

Talbots Woman

Concept: Plus-size clothing in sizes 12W to 24W.

Founded: 1998.

By the Numbers: 143 stores averaging 3,000 square feet each. The concept brings in 4.5 percent of overall Talbots brand sales. Comp-store sales were up 5 percent last year.Growth: The company is rolling out Talbots Woman departments to top-performing misses' stores. There will be 56 such departments by the end of 2007.

Talbots Mens

Concept: Men's sportswear and dress furnishings.

Founded: 2002 as a catalogue; the first store opened in 2003.

By the Numbers: 12 stores with an average size of 4,200 square feet. The concept generates about 1 percent of company sales.

Growth: After a highly successful test in 2006, men's product will be seeded in flagship women's stores during the holiday and Father's Day seasons to drive incremental sales and build brand awareness. The program expands to 200 stores this year.

Talbots Accessories & Shoes

Concept: Shoes, handbags, hair accessories, jewelry, hosiery, gift and cold weather items seasonally.

Founded: 1994 as a catalogue; the first store opened in 1995.

By the Numbers: 39 stores with an average size of 1,800 square feet. The concept generates about 8 percent of Talbots' sales in direct and retail channels.

Growth: Considered a vehicle for stimulating head-to-toe wardrobing and multiple sales within core stores.

Talbots Collection

Concept: Higher-end, more fashion-forward sportswear, priced an average of 35 percent above Talbots' core offerings.

Founded: 1998 as a catalogue; the first store opened in 2003.

By the Numbers: Two stand-alone stores and 104 Collection departments in Talbots stores.

Growth: Currently being used as a merchandise laboratory to test customer receptivity to new fabrics and trends.

Talbots Direct

Concept: The catalogue and e-commerce Web site.

Founded: In 1948, Nancy and Rudolf Talbot circulated a black-and-white flier to New Yorker subscribers. The fliers became a precursor to their catalogue, which officially launched in 1952. The e-commerce site,, launched in 1999.

By the Numbers: Talbots will mail 25 catalogues in 2007 to 49 million households. Web sales reached about $200 million in 2006.

Growth: Web sales are expected to account for more than 50 percent of direct revenues this year.

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