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J. Jill's shares halve after shocker of a third quarter

Like-for-like sales were lower in the third quarter than the year before
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"We are very disappointed with our soft sales trend"

A shock profit warning by J. Jill Inc (NYSE:JILL) saw shares in the omni-channel women’s clothing retailer halve in value.

The company said it now expects third quarter diluted earnings per share on an underlying basis to be between eight and 10 cents.

Like-for-like sales are expected to be three to five per cent lower, year-on-year, with the company admitting it had seen lower than expected sales in both the retail and direct channels.

“We have been assessing the change in trend and have identified product and marketing calendar issues that are affecting traffic and conversion, and we are reacting quickly,” said Paula Bennett, who is president and chief executive officer of J. Jill.

“Given our long track record of consistent sales and earnings growth driven by a strong connection with our customers, we are very disappointed with our soft sales trend. I am confident in the actions we are taking to regain momentum and once again delight our customer with the product and service experience she expects from us,” she added.

The market’s reaction was brutal, with the shares plunging from US$9.93 overnight to US$5.01.



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