Women's wear retailer The Talbots Inc has widened its third quarter loss after closing its non-core Talbots Kids, Mens and UK businesses and being hit by a steep decline in consumer traffic and spending.

The Hingham, Massachusetts based company, which earlier this month took the decision to sell its J Jill brand, also said Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp have agreed to convert $125m to committed working capital lines.

"This is a great step forward for Talbots as it serves to stabilise our liquidity during these most difficult and uncertain times, enabling us to focus on implementing the key strategic initiatives that will drive improved performance of our business," said chief executive Trudy Sullivan.

For the three months to 1 November, net loss from the core Talbots Misses, Petites, Womans, Collection, and Accessories & Shoes concepts was $14.8m or $0.28 per diluted share, compared to last year's net loss of $0.9m or $0.02 per share.

Sales from continuing operations dropped 13.8% to $357m from $414m a year earlier.

Retail store sales fell 12.2% to $303m from $345m last year, and direct marketing sales (including catalogue and Internet) were down 21.7% to $54m after the key holiday/gift catalogue was mailed a month later than last year.

Comparable store sales declined 13.9% for the 13-week period.

The company, which is majority owned by Japanese retailer Aeon and operates 595 Talbots locations and 283 J Jill stores, said it is also in talks with other lenders to set up committed working capital lines.

But it has decided not to comment on its outlook for fourth quarter and full year amid the current "difficult and volatile" environment.