Women’s clothing chain J.Jill, Inc. (NYSE: JILL) reported sequential topline improvement in the third quarter with direct sales to consumers climbing amid the pandemic and after it restructured its debt.
Direct to consumer net sales represented 65 percent of total net sales compared to 43 percent a year earlier. J.Jill Interim CEO James S. Scully has helmed the company through the restructuring where it obtained relief from lenders on certain of its loan agreements, as well as additional liquidity to tide it over.
The retail-store landscape has been transformed by the pandemic, with store closings and bankruptcies, amid heightened digital disruption. Inventory at the end of the third quarter decreased 17 percent to $67.6 million from a year earlier. The company said most of its stores were reopened for the period.
“We have continued to be disciplined with regards to cost and inventory management, and we took aggressive actions to effectively clear units during the quarter to better align our inventory position with current demand,” said Mr. Scully, who bears a slight resemblance to a professorial Indiana Jones. “These actions, along with our improved financial flexibility through our recent agreement with our lenders, better position J.Jill as we continue to focus on driving profitable growth.”
The company in October named Claire Spofford CEO, succeeding Mr. Scully, effective no later than Feb. 15. Spofford, most recently president of Cornerstone Brands, was previously SVP and chief marketing officer of J.Jill.
“As we embark on our next chapter, we are pleased to welcome our permanent CEO, Claire Spofford, who will join us early next year, and brings deep knowledge of J.Jill’s loyal customer base as well as a track record of evolving brands into profitable, digitally-driven omnichannel businesses,” Mr. Scully said.
J.Jill noted the impact of the pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty but the company expects to end the year with approximately 270 stores. The company continues to expect total capital spend in fiscal 2020 to be approximately $5.0 million.
The company last month announced a 1-for-5 reverse stock split effective Nov. 9. Shareholders received one share for every five shares held prior to the effective date.