Talbots Earnings Up 75%

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Talbots

(TLB)

posted third-quarter earnings that were up 75%, meeting analysts' expectations for the quarter amid robust regular-price sales.

The women's apparel retailer earned $34.9 million, or 54 cents a share, up from $20 million, or 31 cents a share, in last year's third-quarter. Figures reflect the company's two-for-one stock split on Nov. 7. Fourteen analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

were expecting an average of 54 cents a share.

Sales for the quarter rose 23% to $391.7 million, compared with $317.3 million in the year-ago period. Retail store sales grew 22% to $331.4 million from $271.4 million in the same period last year, with an increase in comparable store sales of 21%, versus an increase of 14.8% last year.

Talbots also reported it opened 25 new stores during the quarter, bringing its total number of stores to 704, and that the company remains on track to operate about 722 stores by the end of fiscal 2000.