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J.Jill falls down fiscal hill in Q1

Specialty women’s apparel retailer J.Jill Inc. did not have a fairy tale first quarter of fiscal 2019.

Total net sales for the quarter were $176.5 million, down 3% from $181.5 million the same quarter a year earlier. Total company comparable sales, including same-store direct-to-consumer sales, decreased by 3.3%. Net income decreased to $4.4 million, down 61% from $11.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, inclusive of non-recurring selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses.

In addition, J.Jill opened two stores and closed one in the first quarter, ending the quarter with 283 stores.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2019, J.Jill expects total comparable sales to decrease 1% to 3%, with total net sales growth expected to be minus 1% to 1%. J.Jill is revising its outlook for the full 2019 fiscal year. The retailer now expects total comparable sales to decrease 2% to 4%, with total net sales expected to be flat to -2%.

Linda Heasley, president and CEO of J.Jill Inc., said the retailer is taking active measures to improve financial results.

“We are disappointed with our first quarter performance and are taking immediate actions to clear excess inventory and position the business for improved results in the second half of the year,” said Heasley. “We are early in the process of executing against our updated long-term strategies, and our new leadership team across key areas of the business is now in place and will begin to have greater impacts on the business. We are incorporating key learnings from the first quarter and will continue to assess investments in technology and process improvements to ensure the team has the tools to satisfy our core customers and capture the opportunities we see ahead for the J.Jill brand.”
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