J. Jill Easing Expansion

Mindful of costs and hoping to maintain profits, Quincy, MA-based J. Jill will open fewer stores next year than previously announced. Whereas the women’s apparel cataloger/retailer opened 34 new stores in fiscal 2003, in 2004 it plans to open 20. What’s more, it’s going to reduce the number of catalog pages circulated approximately 15%.

“Our short-term strategies are to maintain fiscal 2003 profitability per share while we make significant investments in our front-end product development process and at the same time continue to strengthen our cash position,” president/CEO Gordon R. Cooke, said in a statement.”

The company will spend $6.0 million-$7.0 million in “personnel and systems to improve our operating infrastructure in design, product management, sourcing, product integrity, technical design, and merchandising,” Cooke said. “Even with this significant incremental investment we are targeting to be cash flow positive in fiscal 2004 and to end the year with more than $50.0 million in cash.”