It's been a while since things have gone right for J. Jill
J. Jill, which targets women aged 35 and older, said that it's increasing its per-share earnings expectation to $0.12 to $0.14, which is far better than the company's previous guidance for a break-even quarter. Last year, J. Jill reported fourth-quarter earnings of $0.13 per share.
On the other hand, J. Jill said that its same-store sales are expected to decrease by 3%, compared to a modest increase of 2.4% last year. That still implies that J. Jill continues to work on finding ways to entice customers in its mall-based stores. Shoppers were more open to J. Jill's full-priced merchandise, and the company described its holiday catalog as successful, too. J. Jill's overall sales are expected to increase by 10%.
J. Jill's struggles have been well-documented, and its continued difficulties led me to choose the retailer as my Halloween Trick last October. After that, though, what already seemed like a pricey stock skyrocketed after it went public. Liz Claiborne
J. Jill targets a tough demographic, with many retailers going for the same mature female shopper. Everyone else wants to be Chico's
J. Jill's good news is impressive, given that happy tidings for the company have been rare lately, and that apparel retailers faced a tricky, promotion-heavy holiday season. However, J. Jill's lofty share price (it has increased about 50% since initial word of Liz Claiborne's interest) mostly hinges on the possibility that it might arrange a fortuitous sale. Whether such a deal will be as fortuitous as investors obviously suspect it will be ... well, that remains to be seen. I can't help but wonder whether those who have purchased J. Jill shares since November's Liz Claiborne mania may find themselves disappointed.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.