J. Jill, Cabela's Have Rough Q3

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The third quarter proved challenging for multichannel merchants The J. Jill Group Inc. and Cabela's Inc., which both reported results yesterday.

Women's apparel marketer J. Jill posted an 8.5 percent increase in net sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 24 for a total of $103 million. However, the company took a net loss for the quarter of $2.7 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, both of which were essentially equal to the prior-year quarter, according to a statement from J. Jill, Quincy, MA.

"Net sales in our retail segment are growing primarily as a result of opening more stores -- our year-to-date comparable store sales are basically flat to last year," J. Jill president/CEO Gordon R. Cooke said in the statement. "Net sales in the direct segment continue to decline driven by circulation decreases that are not generating improved sales productivity -- our year-to-date sales productivity per 1,000 square inches circulated is virtually unchanged from last year despite circulation reductions in excess of 20 percent."

For the nine months ended Sept. 24, J. Jill recorded total net sales of $318.8 million compared with $315.4 million last year. The company posted a net loss for the nine months of $1.5 million, or 8 cents per diluted share, versus net income of $6.1 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, in the previous year.

Hunting, fishing and outdoors gear marketer Cabela's, Sidney, NE, said revenue for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 1 totaled $429.8 million, a 12 percent gain over last year. However, same-store sales decreased 8.7 percent and direct revenue was similar to last year at $220.2 million.

"Our third-quarter revenues were primarily impacted by higher fuel prices and the recent hurricanes, both of which affected our consumers' buying patterns," Cabela's president/CEO Dennis Highby said in a statement.

In addition, Cabela's third-quarter net income was $16.3 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, compared with $16.5 million or 25 cents per diluted share for the same period last year. Net income was hurt by the timing of promotional events, additional store pre-opening expenses and increased fuel prices, according to the statement.

Revenue for the nine months ended Oct. 1 totaled $1.124 billion, a 15.1 percent gain over last year. Net income during the same period increased 13.3 percent to $30.1 million, or 45 cents per diluted share.

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