Photo: screenshot www.talbots.com
A failure to successfully innovate has sent Talbots scrambling backwards, according to UBS’ recent global equity research.Lacking design leadership or a brand vision, the company has been hobbled by high inventory and the poor performance of recent product.
Without vision, Talbots has been unable to sell customers on a style of clothing different from its traditional fare. UBS says:
[Talbots] is now shifting the product mix back towards more classic items and also increasing its structured assortment – a flip flop of its strategy over the past few years when TLB downplayed the importance of these. Perhaps it is better to go after what you know when times are tough in the name of market share.
The problem seems to be that, under current leadership, Talbots won’t be able to move beyond the basics it has been known for in the past, limiting possible future expansion.
It’s not all bad, though: Talbots was applauded for investing more in marketing and focusing on upscale outlets. Also, the closing of 110 stores over the next three years should benefit the company’s long-term outlook, though this seems to play into the idea of a low ceiling.
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