What happened

Shares of specialty women's apparel retailer J.Jill (NYSE:JILL) 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.

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.