J. Jill Discontinues Nicole Summers

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Catalog marketer J. Jill Group Inc., Hingham, MA, said yesterday that it will discontinue its Nicole Summers catalog amid expected third-quarter losses of about 11 cents a diluted share before the impact of one-time restructuring charges.

Last week's news came amid the continuing decline of its stock price, which was $4.44 a share at closing yesterday, significantly down from its 52-week high of more than $26 a share in May. Weak sales from Nicole Summers, as well as the proliferation of e-commerce were to blame, according to the company. Third-quarter 1999 sales will be about $46 million, essentially flat compared to last years' figure.

J. Jill Group, formerly known as DM Management Co., in August announced its expansion into retail with plans to open stores in Natick, MA, and Providence, RI. Less than a month later, the company launched its e-commerce Web site (www.jjill.com).

The discontinued Nicole Summers catalog concept was targeted to a slightly older customer than J. Jill, affluent women ages 45 and older who have an active but formal lifestyle, according to a company overview. J. Jill is designed to appeal to women ages 35 and older.

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