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HINGHAM, MA-The Talbots, Inc. reported in a Q2 earnings call that adjusted second quarter net loss from continuing operations, ending Aug. 1, 2009, was $17.6 million, exclusing restructuring and impairment charges. This is compared year-over-year with the $9.4 million net loss. “Comparable store sales declined 25.9%” for that half-year period, according to their Q209 report.

Trudy F. Sullivan, president and CEO of Talbots, said, “It is important to note that we are beginning to see greater benefit from the strategic initiatives we put in place. We ended the second quarter with a substantial reduction in operating expenses and solid increase in merchandise margin, all of which contributed to a significantly better-than-expected bottom line performance. We are especially pleased with our inventory position as we enter the third quarter.”

Much of this can be accounted for by the closing of 75 stores nationwide of the J. Jill brand, which did not transition with the sale of that division. J. Jill Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital, completed the purchase of J. Jill in the second quarter. Talbots cropped off the J. Jill brand and sold it for a reported $75 million to the private equity investment firm. Talbots will use the sale to pay down some of its existing debt.

In May of this year, Talbots added 10 new outlet stores, to focus on a “new customer base who shops almost exclusively at outlet centers,” explains a release. Talbots is aiming to open eight additional stores by the year’s end.

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