J.Jill Inc. (NYSE:JILL) shares dropped by over 25% in pre-market trading, hit by news its chief executive and president Paula Bennett is to retire, which accompanied results showing a rise in fourth-quarter profit and sales, beating forecasts.
The clothing retailer said Bennett will be succeeded by Linda Heasley, who currently serves on the group's board, with effect from April 16.
The NYSE-listed firm reported a fourth-quarter profit of US$29.3mln, or 67 US cents per share, compared with a profit of US$2mln, or 5 US cents a share a year earlier, boosted by one-off gains from US tax changes.
Excluding one-offs, J. Jill reported an adjusted quarterly profit of 13 US cents a share for the quarter, compared with 8 US cents a share last year and analysts' forecasts of 8 US cents.
The firm said its fourth-quarter sales rose to US$188.7mln, up from US$166.9mln a year earlier, also bearing analysts' forecasts for US$178.9mln.
It said it expects sales in the first-quarter to decrease in the mid-single digit range, with earnings per share forecast to be in the range of 18 US cents to 20 US cents which assumes a 4 US cents benefit from the tax overhaul.
In pre-market New York trading, J Jill shares were down 26.2% at US$5.50.