Women's wear retailer The Talbots Inc has parted company with its chief creative officer Michael Smaldone after swinging to a second quarter loss on falling sales.

"While we have made progress in executing our brand vision and product design, customer acceptance needs to improve," president and CEO Trudy Sullivan said today (7 September). "Therefore, I have determined it is necessary for us to bring in new creative leadership."

She added: "The creative process is a team effort, and we are confident in the ability of our strong bench of experienced and talented designers and merchants to continue to move forward during this transition period. We believe the action we have taken will enable us to strengthen the execution of our brand and merchandise initiatives going forward."

While the search for a replacement is underway, Sullivan will assume the chief creative responsibilities. During the transition, the company's senior vice president of design will report directly to her.

Talbots, which operates 566 stores, separately said it swung to a second quarter loss of $37.3m, compared to last year's profit of $941,000. Same store sales fell 10.4% in the three months to 30 July.