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Archive for Sunday, July 28, 2002

Briefcase

July 28, 2002

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Talbots aims to break into men's apparel

There's a fork in the mall where couples part he to Brooks Brothers, she to AnnTaylor or French Connection.

Retailers who have built their names selling to one gender often dream of breaking into the other gender's market. But such mid-life "sex-change operations" as some retailers call them can be tricky and have met with mixed success.

The latest to try is Talbots, the 800-store chain that hopes the well-off, professional women who buy its classic and classy clothes will go for a new Talbots men's line when shopping for apparel for husbands and boyfriends.

And eventually, the company hopes, men will no longer think of Hingham, Mass.-based Talbots as a place for only their wives and mothers to shop.

Talbots plans to introduce a line of sport coats (like above), cashmere sweaters, suede jackets and pants, all aiming for a "classic" look that will appeal to the male counterparts of Talbots' current customer base.

The line will debut in a catalog supplement this holiday season, and Talbots plans to test the clothes in six stores in 2003 and 2004 before a bigger rollout in 2005.

Labor: Firms most likely to give pink slips in December

The period between Labor Day and New Year's Eve has proved to be the heaviest downsizing time of the year, according to a study of job-cut announcements from 1995 through 2001 by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement firm that has tracked job cuts since 1993.

The study showed that in five of the past seven years (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001), the largest number of job cuts were announced between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.

Between 1995 and 2001, a total of 2,090,966 job cuts were announced during the September-December period.

The month most noted for gift-giving also has been the biggest for pink slips being issued. Between 1995 and 2001, December job-cut announcements totaled 594,077. October ranked second with 536,902 announced cuts.

The least likely month for job cuts: May.

One reason for the end-of-the-year cuts is that companies often decide to take charges associated with job reductions against their fourth-quarter earnings. That's a way to deal with as much bad news as possible at once.

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I was born in 1932 in New York as the Baumritter & Co. housewares distributor. My name later changed to reflect the commander of the Green Mountain Boys in the Revolutionary era. In 1999 I introduced my Kids Collection. Beginning in 2000, consumers could order my offerings online. Today, I have more than 310 outlets around the world. I employ more than 5,000 craftspeople and operate 17 plants and three sawmills. Roughly 90 percent of my products are made in the United States, and nearly 100 percent of Americans are aware of my brand. "Everyone's at home" with me. Who am I?

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