US clothing retailer The Talbots said its net loss for the second quarter was US$25m, compared to $13.3m for the same period last year, as it continued to struggle against restructuring charges.

Total consolidated company sales for the thirteen week period ended 2 August were $528m, down from $572m in the prior year period.

By brand, retail store sales were $352m for Talbots compared to $392m last year, and $74m for J Jill compared to $80m last year.

Total company same-store sales declined 12% for the thirteen-week period. By brand, same-store sales for Talbots and J Jill decreased 11.7% and 13.2% respectively.

Its net income decline included a net loss of $4.4m related to shutting-down Talbots Kids, Mens and UK non-core businesses, and $2.3m in restructuring charges associated with strategic initiatives related to its ongoing core operations.

During the second quarter it completed closing of 30 Talbots Kids/Mens/UK stores, with the remaining 35 to be closed by mid-September.

Talbots said it was on-track to reduce the company's cost structure by $100m by end of 2009, with $50m in 2008.

Trudy F Sullivan, Talbots president and chief executive officer, said: "This was a challenging quarter to drive top line sales, predominantly due to the change in our Talbots brand annual June clearance strategy, coupled with a difficult macro environment.

"While a year-over-year shortfall in retail sales impacted the quarter, results were largely offset by the Talbots brand merchandise gross margin expansion.

"However, given the heavy inventory position of the J Jill brand, we took aggressive markdowns during the quarter, which hurt gross margin and our second quarter total company operating performance.

"As a result, we began the fall season with an appropriately lean inventory position.

"Also during the quarter, we made significant progress in all activities related to the closing of Talbots Kids, Mens and UK non-core businesses.

"As a result, we will complete the closing of these businesses by mid-September at a greatly reduced cost versus our original expectation.

"We currently anticipate that total close down costs of these non-core businesses to be a net loss of $0.27 to $0.32 per share, compared to our original estimate for a net loss of $0.59 to $0.64 per share."

Net loss for the six months ended 2 August was $23.4m, compared to reported net loss of $8.0m in the same period last year, while total consolidated company sales were $1bn for the first half of the year, down from $1.15bn, and same-store sales declined 10.9% for the six-month period.

Total company earnings per share are expected to be in the range of approximately $0.15 to $0.25, versus a previous expectation of net loss per share in the range of $0.17 to $0.07 - compared to a net loss of $3.56 per share reported in fiscal 2007.