What happened

Shares of specialty women's apparel retailer J.Jill (JILL -0.67%) jumped on Wednesday, rising as much as 15.3%. As of 11:47 a.m. EST, the stock was up 13.2%.

The stock's gain follows J.Jill's fourth-quarter and full-year update and is likely due to the company's better-than-expected earnings per share and the announcement of a special dividend.

A chart showing a stock price moving higher

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

J.Jill reported net sales of $170.9 million. That was down from $188.7 million in the year-ago quarter (which included an extra week) but in line with analysts' consensus forecast. J.Jill's Q4 EPS came in at $0.05, beating analysts' average estimate for $0.02.

"I am especially pleased by our year-over-year gross margin improvement for the quarter driven by cleaner, leaner inventories and reduction in promotional activity," said CEO Linda Heasley in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for J.Jill.

Now what

For its fiscal 2019, J.Jill expects total comparable sales to be about flat. In addition, management said it expected full-year earnings per share to be $0.66 to $0.70, including a $0.09-$0.10 impact related to technology investments. This compares to earnings per share of $0.69 in fiscal 2018.