Clothing and accessories company The Talbots posted a US$3.9m net loss in the second quarter, thanks mainly to a below-par performance from the recently acquired J Jill brand.

Sales for the period ending 29 July were $571m, of which the Talbots brand contributed $404m, J Jill $73m and direct sales $95m. Comparable store sales were up 1.3%, with Talbots rising 3% and J Jill falling 8.2%.

The Talbots president, chairman and CEO Arnold B Zetcher said strong performance from Talbots helped offset "softness in sales" of J Jill.

"We have made significant progress with our merger integration efforts with J Jill, and identified various synergy opportunities in sourcing, distribution, store operations and back-office functions," he said.

"We've moved forward with our initiatives necessary to achieve these cost savings, and continue to be quite confident in our ability to deliver in excess of $30m in cost savings in fiscal 2007, up from our original estimate of $25m."

Predicting a low single-digit comparable store sales rise in the second half, Zetcher said continued efforts were being made to stabilise J Jill's long-term performance.