J.Jill Inc. seems to know the fashion that older female consumers are looking for.

in brief: J.Jill’s high-income, inflation-proof clientele combined with trend-conscious fashion boosted sales in the second quarter.

The strong momentum in Q1 carried over into Q2, with customers showing little resistance to price increases and continuing to shop for high AUR novelty fashion.

CEO Claire Spofford told analysts on a conference call: Thursday.

Spofford said that J. Jill’s sales plummeted after Mother’s Day, unlike other chains whose sales declined in mid-June.

“As the weather changes and newness continues to flow, we approach her and our field organization about her behavior and shopping intentions,” Spofford said. We are confident based on what we have heard that we will be back for.”

Earlier in the third quarter, the company worked to grow its customer base through a new “Welcome Everyone” campaign focused on size inclusivity. The chain has always offered plus sizes, but they were in a separate section of the store and some options were only available online. , but sizes 3X-4X (26-28) are still only available online. The price has been tweaked to pay for

J.Jill Inc. is closing six stores this year and plans to close a net 10 to 14 stores, including two stores opening in the fourth quarter.

Net sales: For the three months ended July 30, net sales increased 1% to $160.3 million from $159.2 million. Driven by brick-and-mortar sales, same-store sales he increased 0.8%.

Store sales increased 2% due to higher AUR and reduced promotions. Direct sales, which accounted for 46% of total sales, were down 0.7%.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Webb said inventory was up 12.2% at the end of the quarter as more goods were in transit after increasing deliveries in one to two weeks to limit the use of air freight. rice field.

Gross margin for the quarter was 70.1%, up 150 basis points year-over-year as strategic price increases and careful promotions offset higher product costs and last year’s huge freight rates, he said.

First half net sales increased 10% to $317.4 million from $288.3 million.

Earnings: Net income was $17.8 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $24.6 million ($1.98) in the year-ago quarter.

J.Jill expects revenue to be flat to down 3% in the third quarter. Webb said it reaffirmed its previous full-year outlook of “moderate” annual sales growth.

Net income for the six months was $32.3 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $43 million, or $3.88, in the same period last year.

CEO’s view: “We want every woman to be able to find the fit they want in products that are relevant to them, with the confidence that J.Jill has what they are looking for in beautiful style and manufacturing.” said Spofford.

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