Talbots records sharp Q3 loss amid reports of CEO shakeup

HINGHAM, Mass. — Talbots Inc. reported Thursday a loss of $22 million for the third quarter, compared with a profit of $17 million in the year-ago period. It was the apparel retailer’s third loss in four quarters. Talbots has posted an annual loss in three of the last four years.

Talbot’s has outlined plans for cutting jobs, trimming employees’ hours and closing under-performing stores. A report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday also said the company is in the hunt for a new president capable of replacing current CEO Trudy Sullivan. WSJ’s unidentified sources said that the board intents to keep Sullivan aboard until Jan. 2013, but may promote the new president sooner. Talbot’s has not commented on the information.

Revenue for the quarter fell 7% to $279.5 million from $299 million, though still beating Wall Street’s expected $271 million in revenue. In November, same-store sales fell 4%, and they fell 4% in the third quarter.

Sullivan said Thursday she is disappointed in the company's recent performance. She has laid out more plans for a turnaround, including cost-cutting measures such as suspending national advertising and TV campaigns for the short term and trimming inventory. The company will also cut 9% of its corporate workers, equating to about 100 jobs. Talbots is closing underperforming stores, but remodeling premium stores and expanding its upscale outlets.