J. Jill Sales Rise Amid Retail Rollout

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J. Jill Group Inc., Quincy, MA, yesterday reported that net sales increased 15.8 percent to $73.4 million for the first quarter ended March 30 from $63.3 million in the previous year.

Operating income in the quarter totaled $4.8 million, or 6.5 percent of net sales, compared with $1.6 million, or 2.5 percent of net sales, in the prior year. The company recorded net income of $2.7 million, up from $796,000.

First-quarter retail sales more than doubled from the previous year as a result of the company's retail store rollout, and represented 31 percent of the company's sales volume for the quarter compared with 17 percent the previous year. The company opened four new retail stores in the quarter, bringing the count to 55 at quarter-end. It anticipates opening 30 to 35 more by the end of the year.

J. Jill direct channel sales fell $1.8 million to $51.2 million, primarily as a result of lower promotional activity compared with the previous year, the company said


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