This multi-channel retailer and direct marketer of women’s apparel, shoes, and accessories got its start in a white clapboard house in Hingham, Mass. This original location continues to serve customers today, in addition to the 560-plus stores, catalogues, and e-commerce options the company provides its customers for convenience.





  • Headquarters: Hingham, Mass.
  • Founding year: 1947
  • Number of locations as of January 2011: 568
  • FY 2010 net sales: $1.213 billion

Although 2010 wasn’t the strongest for Talbots, President and CEO Trudy Sullivan said, “Our results during the fourth quarter reflected weaker than anticipated customer response to our product, high levels of competitive promotional activity, and weather-related issues. We believe merchandise styling in our catalog that was pushed too far forward for our core customer, and the initial allocation of product in the early implementation of our store segmentation strategy, were additional factors impacting store traffic.”

However, as Sullivan continued, she said Talbots had already started taking steps to address those challenges. Looking ahead, the company plans to renovate 70 stores, reduce its store base and square footage, close between 90 and 100 stores, and downsize up to 20 stores.

“At this stage in our turnaround, we are continuing to put building blocks in place that we believe will position the company for long-term, sustainable, profitable growth. As we move forward in 2011, we believe that higher commodity costs and our increased promotional activity will affect our near-term profitability,” said Sullivan.

“We remain keenly focused on merchandise initiatives as well as branding and marketing strategies that we believe will drive increased customer traffic and sales. Further, we are pleased to expand the store re-image program this year to additional stores and believe the accelerated rationalization of our store portfolio and implementation of IT initiatives will also allow us to make progress toward improved productivity.”

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