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Operating under the Talbots and J. Jill brands, The Talbots, Inc. is a leading international specialty retailer, cataloger and e-tailer of women's classic apparel, shoes, and accessories. At the end of fiscal year 2007, the company operated a total of 1,421 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbiamarker, Canadamarker, and the UKmarker, with 1,150 stores under the Talbots brand name and 271 stores under the J. Jill brand name. Its direct-marketing operation circulated approximately 126 million catalogs worldwide in fiscal 2007, with 48 million under the Talbots brand name and 78 million under the J. Jill brand name. Japanesemarker retailing giant AEON Group has a majority interest in the company through a wholly owned subsidiary.

The Talbots, Inc. currently employs a combined total of approximately 16,000 worldwide, including 12,300 at Talbots and 3,700 at J. Jill.

Talbots sells apparel, shoes and accessories for women. Women's merchandise is offered across several Talbots retail concepts, including Talbots Misses, Talbots Petites, Talbots Woman, Talbots Woman Petites, and Talbots Collection.

History

The company was founded in 1947 by husband and wife, Rudolf and Nancy Talbot in Hingham, Massachusettsmarker.Rudolf had inherited a small store from his father. They refocused the store on traditional women's clothing and renamed it "The Talbots."

In 1948 they launched a catalog operation after buying a list of The New Yorker magazine and distributed 3,000 black and white fliers.

In 1950 it moved to its landmark 17th Century house in Hingham and painted its door red.

By 1973, it had five retail stores and $8 million in revenues. The Talbots sold it to General Mills. By 1988 the company expanded it to stores in 25 states and it had $350 million annually in revenue with catalog sales accounting for 40 percent of the business.

In 1988 General Mills sold it the Japanese conglomerate AEON Group with it reporting to the JUSCO management. By 1993 JUSCO expanded the number of stores to 313 stores in 44 states and subsidiaries in Japan and Canada and revenues of $737 million.

In 1993 AEON spun off the company and it was listed on the New York Stock Exchangemarker with AEON initially maintaining a 67 percent ownership interest. The company expanded to 600 stores.

In 2006 it acquired the J. Jill Group.

At the end of fiscal year 2006, the Company operated a total of 1,365 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the UK, with 1,126 stores under the Talbots brand name and 239 stores under the J. Jill brand name.

Following a drop in sales due to the recession, on November 6, 2008 AEON announced plans to sell its J. Jill line.

Talbots Concepts

Talbots Misses

Talbots Misses is the Company's core business. The assortment, which generally ranges from sizes 2 to 20, evolves strategically to allow a customer to build and update her wardrobe from year to year. Talbots Misses stores average approximately 3,200 selling square feet. Each store is designed to blend with its surrounding environment and is decorated in a warm, residential style. At the entrance of each store is Talbots signature red door.

Talbots Petites

Talbots first Petites store opened in Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker in 1985, and expansion of the concept began in 1990. Petite sizes from 2-16 are carried in the catalog and online, and a Petites assortment is included in every Misses store, except where it has generated enough sales to warrant a separate store of its own. Talbots Petites stores have approximately of selling space, and are similar in design to Misses stores.

Talbots Accessories and Shoes

Already successfully established in the Company's catalog and stores, separate Accessories & Shoes stores were introduced in September 1995. Talbots Accessories & Shoes stores average 1,300 selling square feet.

Talbots Men's & Children's

From 1989-2008 and 2003-2008, respectively, Talbots expanded its line to children's and men's apparel and accessories. However, in a cost-cutting move and due to the inability for these lines to deliver a long-term return on investment, the company closed its 66 Talbot's Kids stores and 12 Talbots Mens stores by Sepetmber 2008.

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