Talbots: It’s a classic

June 7, 2020

In 1947 Rudolf Talbot and his wife, Nancy, inherited a store from Rudolf’s father. Located in Hingham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, they called their store, The Talbots. Over time, the company became known simply as Talbots. Today, Talbots has 529 U.S. store locations.

Talbots 529 US Store Locations

The Talbots, which featured classic women’s clothing, brought in $18,000 in sales in its first year in business. With that under their belts, the Talbots decided to mark their second year by introducing a catalogue operation. They bought a list of subscribers to The New Yorker magazine and distributed 3,000 fliers to these potential customers.

By 1950, the Talbots were ready for a larger retail space and moved to a two-story 17th century colonial frame house in Hingham.

The front door was painted a bright red which later became a trademark of the Talbots chain. The building housed retail space on the first floor and offices on the second.

In 1950, the Talbots bought a two-story 17th-century colonial frame house in Hingham, Massachusetts. The first floor was used as a retail space and the second floor was converted to office space.

In 1955, Talbots opened its first branch store, in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In the following years, stores were opened in Lenox, Massachusetts; Hamden, Connecticut; and Avon, Connecticut.

Throughout the 1960s, Talbots continued to offer classic styles and
traditional women’s fashions.

In need of more office space, Talbots moved its business headquarters and mail-order operations in 1970 to a new location in Hingham. The company’s staff had grown to 71 employees employed in the five New England Talbots stores.

In 1973, Talbots, with five stores, a booming catalogue business and $8 million in annual revenues, was sold to General Mills.

General Mills expanded the Talbots chain along the U.S. east coast before selling it to JUSCO Co. Ltd. in 1988.

In 1993, Talbots went public and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TLB.

Talbots celebrated its 50th anniversary
in 1997, marked by $1 billion
in total company sales.

In 1998, the company introduced Talbots Woman, a specialty shop for larger-sized women.

In August 2012, Talbots was acquired by the New York City-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $391 million (including debt).

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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