) -- Women's apparel retailer stocks are back in fashion, after




Charming Shoppes

(CHRS) - Get Report

reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

While Talbots swung to a loss, it was smaller than Wall Street forecast. During the quarter the company lost 14 cents a share on an adjusted basis, while analysts were calling for a loss of 18 cents.

Revenue dropped 7% to $292.6 million, while same-store sales tanked 7.3%.

Talbots also announced an accelerated store closure plan. It will now shutter between 90 and 100 stores and consolidate or downsize about 15 to 20 stores over the next two years. The company previously said in October it would close these stores over a three-year period.

It also expects to renovate about 70 stores this year.

While the fourth-quarter beat sent shares up 20.2% to $5.79 Wednesday morning, Talbots did note that so far sales trends for the first quarter are trending downward.

Plus-size retailer, Charming Shoppes, also reported a smaller-than-expected loss as holiday sales topped estimates.

For the three-month period, the company lost $30.4 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with a loss of $28 million, or 24 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, Charming Shoppes actually lost 8 cents a share on revenue of $575.8 million.

Analysts were calling for a loss of 19 cents on revenue of $553.1 million.

The company also announced that it appointed Anthony Romano, chief operating officer, as its new chief executive to replace James Fogarty, who stepped down in October 2010.

Shares of Charming Shoppes advanced 17.6% to $3.48 in morning trading.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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