Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Retail suffers in all sorts of fashion


talbots.jpgCheck out the weak quarters at American Eagle and Talbots.

Apparently the tough U.S. retail environment is not age-specific.

American Eagle Outfitters, which sells teen apparel said fourth-quarter profit fell more than 6 percent amid weak sales, higher markdowns and competition from rivals.

The retailer also forecast first-quarter earnings well below analysts’ expectations as it has had to take higher markdown.

Meanwhile, Talbots, which sells apparel for women who generally are not in their teens, posted a quarterly loss, hurt by a charge related to its J. Jill business, store closings and declining sales.

But the company still posted a loss even without the charges. The company, like its rivals that also sell classic clothing to women over the age of 40, has struggled for more than a year with slow consumer traffic and declining sales.