In a sense, Trudy Sullivan’s struggles as Talbots CEO are a testament to the success of the Talbots brand. Attempts to make Talbots seem more modern, trendy or youthful came up against a deep-seated perception of what the store represents: A purveyor of well-made, stylish, proper preppy classics, befitting what retail analyst Marshal Cohen euphemistically calls “the consumer of experience.’’ The trouble is that those consumers don’t want to look quite so. . .experienced.
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