TALBOTS’ BOARD OK’S 2-FOR-1 STOCK SPLIT

NEW YORK — Talbots’ board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 stock split, effective Nov. 7 to shareholders of record Oct. 25.
The Hingham, Mass.-based retailer of classic women’s apparel will issue one share of common stock for each outstanding share of common stock and each held in its treasury. There were just under 31.4 million shares of common stock outstanding as of Oct. 9.
In a statement, Arnold Zetcher, chairman, president and chief executive, said, “This is our company’s first stock split since our 1993 initial public offering and is intended to make Talbots shares more accessible to all shareholders and to increase our market liquidity. Today’s action, together with our ongoing stock repurchase and dividend programs, underscores our continuing commitment to enhancing shareholder value.”
Talbots has been a standout retail performer in all respects in 2000, generating growth in overall sales, same-store sales, earnings and, perhaps most uncommon of all, its stock price throughout the year. Sales rose 25.8 percent to $145 million in the five weeks ended Sept. 30 while September same-store sales rose 24.8 percent. In the second quarter ended July 29, earnings nearly quadrupled, to $14.6 million or 46 cents a share, and sales scored 16.9 percent, to $356.6 million.
Meanwhile, during a fall season in which many competitors have been revising profit expectations downward, Talbots updated its projections in the opposite direction on Oct. 4, forecasting third-quarter earnings of between $1 and $1.02 a share versus consensus estimates of 85 cents and a prior-year net of 63 cents.
Uncharacteristically, even of retailers with strong quarterly and monthly results, Talbots’ stock price has remained close to its 52-week high of $77.94. The 52-week low is $28.25.
“Given the momentum we have seen in our business to date,” Zetcher commented, “we believe we are well positioned for a successful second-half performance and are confident in our ability to expand and grow our company over the long term.”
Talbots operates 692 stores, including 409 Talbots Misses and 165 Talbots Petites units. It also operates an e-tail site at talbots.com and expects to distribute about 58 million catalogs worldwide during the current fiscal year.

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