Shares of J. Jill Inc (NYSE:JILL) gained traction Wednesday after the women’s clothing retailer beat the Street’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit estimate and matched on revenue, thanks to robust sales.
For the quarter ended February 2, the Quincy, Massachusetts-based company reported earnings of $2.094 million, or $0.05 per share, on revenue of $170.9 million.
The results came in ahead of analysts’ profit estimate, which called for earnings-per-share of $0.02 and matched calls for revenue of $170.92 million.
In response, J.Jill shares jumped 10.8% to $6.55 in morning trade on Wednesday.
In other news, J.Jill unveiled a dividend of $1.15 per share to be paid on April 1 to shareholders of record at the close of the market on March 19.
It also saw its gross margin climb to 63.1% compared with gross margin of 62.2% in the year-ago quarter, a fact highlighted by CEO Linda Heasley.
“I am especially pleased by our year-over-year gross margin improvement for the quarter, driven by cleaner, leaner inventories and a reduction in promotional activity,” Heasley said in a statement.
The company’s comparable sales, which includes comparable stores and direct-to-consumer sales, fell by 1.7% in the quarter.
Outlook in focus
Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, the retailer expects comparable sales to be flat while net sales are set to be “slightly positive”. Diluted earnings per share are set to fall in the range of $0.66 to $0.70, including a $0.09 to $0.10 impact related to technology investments being made in the business.
For the first quarter, comparable sales are expected to decrease 1% to 3% with net sales set to be flat to down 2%. Diluted earnings per share are set to fall in the range of $0.15 to $0.17, including an approximate $0.6 impact related to technology investments.
Headquartered outside of Boston, J.Jill has 282 stores in the US as well as an e-commerce business.
Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]