NEW YORK — Choosing caution over risk, The Talbots Inc. Wednesday posted higher third-quarter earnings despite lower comparable-store sales.

Income for the three months ended Nov. 2 was up 2 percent to $37.4 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, from $36.6 million, or 58 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales rose 2 percent to $401.8 million versus $393.9 million. Retail sales gained 4 percent to $339.7 million from $325.7 million, despite a same-store sales decline of 3.2 percent. Catalog sales fell 9 percent to $62.1 million from $68.2 million.

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